There are various ways in which veterans disability can affect SSDI and eligibility for benefits.

Qualifying for VA and SSDI Benefits

Qualifying for VA disability does not guarantee eligibility for benefits through Social Security. Although both are government programs, eligibility requirements are very different.

Disabled veterans need to have service-related disabilities to qualify for benefits through the VA. Applicants also need to have been discharged from the military under conditions other than “dishonorable.” Veterans don’t need to be totally disabled to qualify for VA disability. Many veterans continue to work while receiving military disability benefits.

To qualify for SSDI, claimants need to be completely disabled and unable to work. How they became disabled and their military discharge status are irrelevant.

How VA Disability Affects SSDI

If a veteran suffers from severe disabilities that prevent him or her from performing substantial gainful activity, Social Security Disability benefits may be available in addition to VA disability. Since the income from one program does not impact eligibility or benefits from the other, disabled veterans who qualify for both programs may be able to collect monthly payments that are substantial.

The severity of a veteran’s service-related disability and his or her family circumstances will impact how much the veteran receives through the VA. While the severity of the condition does not impact the number of monthly payments SSDI claimants receive, their family circumstances plays a role. For instance, if a veteran has multiple children or one child and a spouse, he or she will qualify for more benefits than the person with no spouse or dependents.

Receiving Veteran Benefits When Qualified

Veterans who wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits should request a veteran disability package. Veterans can accomplish this by completing the VA form for pension and compensation.

Individuals can also apply via the veteran’s disability website, but they must be able to prove that they qualify by providing medical records and other documentation pertaining to their specific disabilities.

Expedited Claims Processing for Veterans

In some cases, veterans’ SSD claims are expedited. Wounded Warriors and veterans who have received a 100% P&T rating from the VA can have their claims processed faster by indicating their status on their SSDI application.