Get an Experienced Attorney Who Has Obtained Social Security Disability Benefits for Veterans in Richmond and Across the State

Military service can have a lifelong impact on you and your family. Many of you who served in the Armed Forces are still dealing with financial, emotional, and health issues that arose from your service and time in the military. It is common for veterans to have both Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability claims because of their medical impairments. You are allowed to receive benefits under both programs at the same time. This article tells you everything you need to know about Social Security Disability for veterans and wounded warriors.

Below is information for Wounded Warriors and Veterans in Virginia who are unable to work or maintain full-time work because of their medical conditions or who have received a service-connected disability rating from the VA. If you have questions after reading this article, or want help applying for disability benefits in Virginia, call or e-mail Newport News and Richmond Social Security Disability lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We’re here to help you get the money and medical care you deserve.

Are You a Veteran with a VA Disability Impairment Rating of 100%?

If you are a Wounded Warrior and Veteran who has received a 100% service-connected disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA) may make an expedited decision in your claim for SSDI and SSI benefits. In 2014 the SSA decided that veterans who have received a VA disability rating of 100% permanent and total disability (P&T) may have their application for Social Security Disability benefits processed faster.

To receive an expedited decision as a Wounded Warrior or Veteran applying for SSDI benefits, you must do the following:

  • Complete your application for Social Security Disability benefits.
  • If applying by phone, tell the Social Security representative that you are a veteran rated 100% P&T by the VA. If applying online, enter “Veteran 100% P&T” in the “Remarks” section of your application.
  • Send your VA notification letter to Social Security. Make sure you send the most recent one showing that you were rated 100% P&T. We think it is best to send the letter that outlines all of your medical conditions evaluated by the VA, even those that were found unrelated to your service, and provides the percentage impairment breakdown for each.

Am I Guaranteed Social Security Disability Benefits if the VA Issued a 100% P & T Rating?

No. Though the SSA must give “great weight” to your VA rating, it does not have to award your claim for Social Security Disability benefits just because the VA found you unemployable. You must still prove that you are disabled under the SSA’s definition of “disability.”

For example, the SSA may deny your claim for benefits, even if you have a 100% P&T rating from the VA, if it finds that the underlying objective medical evidence does not support the VA’s rating. This is always a risk when your VA rating is based in large part on a mental disorder, which depends on an evaluation of subjective symptoms.

The SSA must explain why it ignored your rating from the VA if it denies your case. If the explanation is not adequate, you have grounds for an appeal.

We have also seen claims denied when the veteran has a date last insured (DLI) under the Social Security Act that is well before the date they received the 100% P&T rating. That is why it can be helpful to provide your disability attorney with all the VA determinations made in your case if you our VA disability rating has increased over the years.

Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors and Veterans

Yes. You can receive Social Security Disability benefits while remaining on active duty. But you must contact the SSA immediately if there is a change to your:

  • Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC);
  • Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS); or
  • Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC).

In addition to the amount of money you can receive each month, here are some of the other key differences between Veterans Disability and Social Security Disability claims:

  • Total vs. Partial Disability. As a veteran seeking Social Security Disability benefits, you must prove that you are disabled under the SSA’s definition. It is all or nothing. If you do not prove entitlement, then you will not receive any SSDI benefits. On the other hand, you can receive disability benefits from the VA even if you are found only partially disabled. The partial disability rating will reduce the amount of benefits you receive each month, but you will still receive something. And you can always ask for a review if your condition worsens.
  • Treating Doctor Rule: Under the Social Security Act, your treating physician’s opinion is supposed to be given deference. In theory this sounds great. In practice many judges find a way around the treating physician rule if they want to deny the case. There is no treating physician rule in VA disability claims.

As one of the top disability lawyers helping to get Social Security Disability benefits for veterans who have sacrificed for their country, we can help you navigate the system and get approved for the benefits and medical coverage you deserve.

Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyer for Veterans and Wounded Warriors