What do I Need to Know About SSDI Benefits as a Veteran?


As a military veteran, you are likely familiar with the various benefit programs for veterans. Some of these programs were originally introduced over 200 years ago to aid veterans and their dependents. But did you know that you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)? Depending on your circumstances, you could be eligible to receive SSDI even if you currently receive disability benefits from the VA. Below is a look at SSDI benefits and how they can co-exist with your veteran’s benefits.

What are SSDI benefits?

“Social Security’s Disability Insurance Benefits are federally funded and administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and have a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months or is expected to end in death.” – Benefits.gov, the Official Benefits Website of the U.S. Government

SSDI benefits are designed to provide financial relief to working Americans who are diagnosed with a long-term medical condition that prevents them from continuing their employment responsibilities. If you apply for SSDI and your application is approved, you will begin receiving disability payments from the Social Security Administration.

Who is eligible to receive SSDI benefits?

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must meet three criteria. First, you must be unable to perform any significant work due to your medical condition. Second, your medical condition should be long-term, lasting for a minimum of one year. And third, you must apply for benefits and be approved by the Social Security Administration.

Can your VA benefits impact your SSDI benefits?

“Connecting Veterans with Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step to increasing income stability for Veterans and their families… Veterans may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), in conjunction with, or as an alternative to VA disability compensation.” – SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR)

Sometimes veterans who are already receiving benefits through the VA refrain from applying for SSDI benefits. They mistakenly assume that they will be rejected because they are already receiving money from the government.

But there are over half a million veterans who receive disability benefits, highlighting the fact that veterans can qualify to receive both VA benefits and SSDI. And, according to SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR), SSDI benefits are not impacted by VA benefits. This is because VA benefits are categorized as unearned income, therefore allowing the two types of payments (VA and SSDI) to be added together in full each month.

How do SSDI benefits differ from veterans benefits?

VA disability benefits and SSDI are both initiatives run by the U.S. government. However, they are vastly different from one another. Here are some key differences between SSDI benefits and veterans benefits:

  • Approval for VA benefits requires your disability to be related to your military service. SSDI does not require a link to active military service.
  • Unlike VA benefits, Social Security doesn’t provide partial disability benefits. You must be fully disabled to receive SSDI.
  • The VA may increase your benefits if your medical condition worsens. However, your SSDI benefits won’t increase if your condition deteriorates.

If you are unable to hold steady employment to a service-connected disability, you may also be eligible for TDIU even without a 100% rating. Veterans with one disability rated 60% or more, or multiple disabilities with one at least 40% and the total at least 70%, could be eligible for this benefit.

Are veterans with a 100% Permanent and Total rating guaranteed to receive SSDI?

“A VA compensation rating of 100% Permanent and Total does not guarantee that you will receive Social Security disability benefits. To be approved for Social Security benefits, you must meet Social Security’s definition of “disability.” – United States Social Security Administration

While many veterans with a 100% Permanent and Total (100% P&T) rating are awarded SSDI, there are no automatic approvals. Veterans must complete an SSDI application in order to be approved and begin receiving benefits. You can apply online for SSDI or call 1-800-772-1213 to begin the application process. Or, if you prefer to apply in person, you can visit any Social Security office.

How can a veterans disability attorney help you secure SSDI benefits?

There are no guarantees in the world of disability benefits. Even a 100% P&T rating by the VA will not provide full assurance that you will receive the disability benefits for which you are entitled. Fortunately, you can boost your chances of securing the benefits you deserve by contacting a veterans disability attorney. Here are some ways an attorney can help you:

  • Break down the application process into easy steps
  • Gather and organize necessary medical documentation and other paperwork to support your application
  • Prepare you for common questions you may receive regarding your disability
  • Help you challenge a decision regarding a denied claim
  • Maintain contact with the SSA on your behalf

To experience the many ways a skilled lawyer can help you, contact our legal team today. With an accomplished veterans disability attorney providing you with guidance and support, you will be one step closer to receiving the disability benefits you deserve.

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