According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20% of all military veterans have a service-related disability. The percentage translates into an estimated figure of around 4.3 million veterans. Of these, more than a million veterans suffer from disabilities that are rated 70% of higher. This means that their disabilities prevent them from leading a normal life.
Typically, veterans are eligible for receiving monthly benefits for their disabilities, also known as VA disability compensation. On a scale of 0% to 100%, disabled veterans receive these benefits in proportion to their functional limitations. Unlike Social Security benefits which are often tied to the income level of the applicant, VA benefits are offered purely on the grounds of disability. So the income level of the applicant is not considered.
If you are a military veteran with disabilities, you may already be receiving VA disability benefits. However, you can also qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Why apply for Both Social Security and VA Benefits?
Sometimes, VA disability benefits alone may not be enough. Depending on your service-connected disability, the functional limitations imposed by the condition can affect your ability to earn money. This, in turn, can put you under significant financial pressure.
The costs of treatment, therapy, rehabilitation, and care of your disability may also be steep. Although TRICARE benefits allow you to seek suitable treatment, you may need to cover a number of related out-of-pocket expenses.
This is where Social Security benefits can help you. Especially if you have a particularly severe disability, these benefits may supplement your VA benefits and help you provide for yourself and your family month after month. If you are not sure how to go about it, you can consult a qualified social security disability lawyer in Greenville SC.
Benefits of Applying as a Veteran
Social Security benefits are typically available to all eligible Americans. This is in contrast to VA benefits which are available only the military veterans. While the application requirements defined by Social Security Administration (SSA) are typically rigorous, you stand to enjoy a number of benefits when applying as a veteran. Following are some of these:
- Quicker Processing of Application: For most applicants, a Social Security benefits application can take a long time, typically between a few months all the way up to a year. For you as a veteran, the application processing time is significantly reduced. If your disability occurred after 2001, your application may be processed in as little as a few weeks.
- Medicare and TRICARE Benefits: If you receive VA benefits, you already have access to TRICARE benefits. Once you qualify for Social Security benefits, you are also able to access Medicare benefits. Both Medicare and TRICARE benefits exist side-by-side so that you can avail the other when one of them no longer covers the full cost. This is particularly helpful if your disability-related medical costs are exceptionally high.
- Military Pay: If you apply for Social Security benefits and qualify, you can continue to receive non-work military pay. This means that the monthly stipend from SSA will supplement this pay. This is in contrast to other non-military applicants who can’t earn money while receiving disability benefits.
The Application Process
To qualify for Social Security benefits, your disability must meet the criterion set forth in SSA’s Blue Book. You will also be required to provide complete medical records that pertain to the original diagnosis, symptoms, past treatments and other details. As a veteran, you must also provide the Form DD 124 which is provided upon discharge. If you receive military pay, details of this must also be included in the application. However, being a recipient of military pay does not affect your odds of receiving Social Security benefits.
If you already receive VA disability benefits, you likely have military records related to your disability. These may be in the form of medical tests, documentation of therapy session or the notes of your treating physician. All of these are important pieces of evidence and should also be appended to your application.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Greenville SC
Here at Robert Surface law firm, we specialize in working with military veterans who have service-related disabilities. If you are a veteran who is already receiving VA benefits and wish to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are at the right place. Our Greenville SC disability lawyers will work closely with you to meet SSA requirements, gather relevant documentation and file the application at the earliest. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.