I am a veteran. May I receive both Social Security Disability and VA disability?

By Douglas I. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

If you are a veteran who cannot work because of a service-connected disability, you may file for both Social Security Disability and for Veterans Disability Compensation at the same time. And you can receive both benefits at once, without reduction. (Note: if you get a needs-based benefit, such as VA pension or SSI, winning an additional benefit may affect how much you can receive overall.)

The rules are different for each benefit. For Social Security we have to prove that you can’t work because of your medical conditions, and because of your age, education and work history. For example, the Social Security law assumes that the older you get, the harder it is for you to adjust to new jobs.

The VA benefit is much harder to win because it does not consider your age. The rating percentages themselves just consider your medical condition. Usually, in these cases we try to prove that you are unemployable – – known as Individual Unemployability. This means that you can’t work a regular job because of just your service-connected conditions, and also because of your education and work history. So, age is not a consideration, and the disability must be based only on service-connected conditions, not all of your medical conditions.

Having an overall strategy here can allow one case to help the other. Otherwise, sometimes getting an award in one case may not be as helpful as possible to the other case. When we represent you on both Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability, we aim for a strategy that will maximize the usefulness of one case for the other.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.