Social Security

How VA Benefits Affect SS Benefits

How a veteran’s service connection affects his/her social security disability benefit eligibility depends on the program they are attempting to collect social security disability benefits from.

SSDI Eligibility

A veteran’s service-connected disability benefits do not affect the veteran’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because the eligibility criteria for the SSDI program are based on work history credits and not financial resources or income. A veteran is able to collect veteran’s benefits at the 100% rating ($3,000+), and collect SSDI benefits for him/herself and their dependent children, without penalty.

SSI Eligibility

A veteran’s service-connected disability benefits could make them ineligible for SSI benefit eligibility. This is because the Supplemental Security Income program is based on financial income and resources. A veteran that has a fifty-percent (50%) or higher disability rating will not be eligible for the SSI program because they will have financial resources above the income guidelines discussed above.

Additionally, a veteran with many dependents (spouse, kids, and parents), may be ineligible for SSI even at the forty-percent (40%) rating

Similarly, SSI benefits can and will be offset by other income. So, if a Veteran is collecting any level of VA Disability Benefits, their SSI benefits will be offset and lowered so their total income does not go above that year’s maximum benefit level. For the year 2021, SSI caps out at $794.00/month.

Disability Entitlement

Many people believe that if they are service-connected through the VA they will automatically receive social security disability benefits. Additionally, many people believe that if they are collecting TDIU through the VA, they will be approved for social security disability benefits. This is not true. The VA and SSA are two completely different programs, and proving disability for SSA is completely separate from proving disability for the VA. Even if a veteran is considered disabled and service-connected through the Veterans Administration, they must convince SSA they are disabled as well, and SSA does not consider their VA status. SSA will, however, consider the evidence used in the VA claim.

If you believe you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits and would like assistance proving disability, please contact an Operation Stand Down Rhode Island Social Security Disability attorney at (401) 383-4730.

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