HOW TO GET BOTH VETERAN BENEFITS & SSDI BENEFITS
WHAT ARE VETERAN DISABILITY BENEFITS?
VA benefits are for veterans who were on active duty in the military and were injured or disabled during their service. Additionally, you can also win benefits if your post service medical condition relates to your time in service. This is true, even if your medical condition arose after service.
For example, Cannon Disability Law recently helped a veteran who was on active duty the Korean War. He was part of a military team who loaded, aimed and fired a Howser. The Howser, when fired, makes a lot of noise and at the time, the military did not normally wear ear protection. Therefore, he not only developed tinnitus, but he now has hearing loss as well. And both of his hearing issues are clearly due to his specific job in the service. Therefore, his current hearing loss connects to his time in service.
He should receive a VA rating for his tinnitus and be paid a monthly benefit for it. Additionally, because he now has hearing loss and can prove that it is connected to his military service, he will get a higher rating from the VA. Therefore, he will receive more monthly veteran benefits.
THE FOUR CRITERIA YOU NEED TO QUALIFY FOR VETERAN DISABILITY BENEFITS
In order to qualify for VA disability benefits, you must meet the following four criteria:
- You must have a diagnosis of a disability in your medical record
- There must be evidence of a service connected event, injury, disease, or aggravated medical condition that is related to your diagnosis.
- Your must have medical evidence that links your service to your condition through a medical nexus.
- You can prove you are actively dealing with the symptoms of your medical condition.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS ACTIVE DUTY?
Those who served on active duty during the periods below can receive VA disability benefits. They can also receive VA health care services and pension benefits. In order to receive benefits you must have been part of the active duty military in:
- Gulf War 1990-1991
- Panama 1989
- Grenada 1983-84
- Lebanon 1983
- Iceland 1973 -74
- Vietnam 1965-1973
- Korea 1953-1955
Military personnel who qualify for veteran status can also get VA benefits. An award of VA benefits is known as “service-connected disability compensation.” It is important for you to know that your VA benefits are not based on your past income. Instead, your benefits are based upon whether or not your disability connects to your time in service.
HOW TO APPLY FOR VETERAN SERVICE-CONNECTED BENEFITS
The VA provides disability compensation, education, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits for veterans. All you have to do is apply and prove your case. The amount of your monthly benefit will be based on the rating the VA gives you for your medical condition.
The best way to file for disability compensation is to apply online at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Website. Or, you can fax your application to: (844) 531-7818 (inside the U.S.) (248) 524-4260 (outside the U.S.).
However, the VA is not the only organization that offers benefits for veterans. There are also state programs such as the California State Disability Insurance (SDI). SDI benefits are for those veterans whose disabilities are so severe that they cannot support themselves. However, they are not for those who need permanent care.
The Veterans’ Compensation and Pension Act of 2006 (VCPA) provides benefits to veterans and their survivors, including compensation for a disability resulting from exposure to hazardous substances during military service that is not compensable under any other law.
Another important thing to be aware of is that disability compensation benefits from the VA are tax free.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR VETERAN DISABILITY BENEFITS?
In order to qualify for veterans disability compensation, the veteran must currently have a medically diagnosed disease or disability caused by an incident during active military, naval, or air service. There are two issues that you must prove to the VA. First, you must prove you have a medical disability. Second, you must prove your disability connects to your time during active duty. This may sound easy to prove, but many cases fail due to lack of medical evidence and not being able to prove a connection to service.
After consideration of the evidence, the VA makes a decision about the degree of disability. The VA assigns you a disability rating. The rating measures disability in 10% increments ranging from 10% disabled to 100% (totally) disabled.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides cash benefits to people who are unable to work for one year or more because of a physical or mental condition.
SSDI benefits are available only for those who have worked a certain number of quarters and paid their Social Security taxes. Younger workers may qualify for SSDI benefits with fewer credits and less recent work.
Additionally, in order to get benefits, you must be totally disabled. This means that you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from working any job. If your medical condition is only going to last for a short time, then you cannot get benefits. In all cases, to be paid benefits you must be off work or be expected to be off work for at least one year.
In order to determine if you are totally disabled, the SSA will consider whether you have a medical condition that meets the SSA listing. Or, you must be found eligible for benefits under a vocational analysis. Learn more about the vocational analysis here. In order for the SSA to pay you benefits, you must be unable to work at any job in the national economy.
VETERANS CAN ALSO APPLY FOR SSDI BENEFITS
It is not unusual for veterans to receive Social Security benefits and veteran benefits. In fact, some veterans receive VA disability benefits before filing for SSDI benefits. Veterans can also file an application for SSDI benefits if they do not qualify for VA benefits.
You can receive VA benefits and SSDI benefits at the same time.
Additionally, you can also get a VA pension. The VA pension is a need based program that is similar to the SSI program. A VA pension is for veterans who have little or no income and have a disability that is NOT connected to service. A veteran can receive SSI benefits and a VA pension at the same time.
If you can, it is best to qualify for VA service connected benefits and SSDI benefits, because you can receive the full amount of both benefits. You do not have an offset of SSDI benefits when your veteran benefits connect to service.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VETERAN BENEFITS AND SSDI BENEFITS?
The major difference between SSDI benefits and VA benefits is that to receive VA benefits you don’t need to be 100% disabled. In fact, most veterans who receive VA benefits do not receive a 100% disability rating. Many veterans get benefits from the VA, even though they can still work.
Veterans can receive a compensable rating as low as 10%. They can even have a rating as low as 0%. It is good for you to get a 0% rating even though you will not receive payment for it, because a 0% rating proves there is a disability that connects to service. If the medical condition gets worse over time and turns into a more serious problem, then the veteran can get benefits for it.
If a veteran has a physical or mental condition which makes it impossible to work, their rating could go as high as 50%. There is no specific law requiring VA disability ratings. But, there is case law that states veterans can collect benefits up to certain percentages even if they don’t have a 100% rating from the VA. This is called presumptive rating. Learn more about presumptive VA benefits here. ” The VA has set a “presumptive” rating of 40% disability, although they can adjust it up or down depending on the veterans medical condition.
MEDICAL EVIDENCE MUST PROVE YOU QUALIFY FOR SSDI BENEFITS
If your primary source of treatment is a VA medical center, don’t assume that the SSA will obtain all of your VA medical records.
It is well known that the VA does not supply or is very slow in sending needed medical records to the SSA. We recommend that the veteran pick up a copy of his or her own medical records from the VA. Those records can then be handed in to the SSA when you file your application.
Your medical records prove you deserve benefits. The SSA is looking for very specific evidence in your medical records. Learn more about what medical evidence you need from your doctor to prove you serve Social Security benefits.
If you need help finding free medical care, we have resources for you on this website. For example, our site contains a list of free and low-cost physicians and clinics in both Utah and Nevada’s free and low cost services. We also have information on Idaho’s free health services and California’s free medical services. If you are suffering a severe mental or physical condition, then get treatment and document your symptoms. Next, contact us today for help in filing your application for SSDI and SSI benefits.
THE TREATING PHYSICIAN RULE AND SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Social Security benefits are not paid for a partial loss of the ability to work. Likewise, there is not rating system for a partial impairment, such as the loss of a finger or a hand. When you file for SSDI benefits, the SSA will find that you are either totally disabled or not disabled at all.
In the past, another difference between the two programs was due to Social Security’s “treating physician rule.” Until 2017, the medical opinion of your treating doctor was given a great deal of weight by the SSA. In VA law, the treating doctor opinion is not given deferential weight, because of the VA policy that decisions should be based on the entire medical file. This policy is in place so as not to give any particular evidence extra weight. Since the 2017 SSA rule change, neither program gives deference to the medical opinion of your treating doctor.
This policy change on the part of Social Security makes it even more important to hire an attorney. The SSA will have their doctors, whom you have never met, review your medical records at the initial and appeal stage of your Social Security case. Next, they may send you to a Consultative Examination with a doctor that they pay to review your physical and mental health. The SSA may even hire a medical expert to testify at your hearing. On top of that, they are saying they won’t give any special weight to what your doctor has to say. Can you see why you need an attorney on your side?
DOES GETTING VETERAN BENEFITS MAKE IT EASIER TO GET SSDI BENEFITS?
Getting an award of veteran benefits does not help get SSDI benefits. In the past, if you had a very high VA rating (70% or higher), your chances for success on your SSDI claim was good. Because, in the past, the federal courts ruled that VA rating decisions were entitled to “great weight” by the SSA.
However, in 2017, the SSA issued new rules stating that Social Security will no longer take into account VA approvals when deciding to grant SSDI benefits. Furthermore, the SSA will no longer provide any information on whether they reviewed the VA’s approval in their written decisions. This new policy directly contradicts their previous rules. Like their reversal on their rule to give more weight to the medical opinion of the claimant’s treating physician, the SSA continues to issue policy decisions and rules that make it harder for people to qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.
The SSA, however, does consider any medical evidence the VA took into account when making its decision. The VA shares medical records with the SSA. The VA uses the evidence when looking at its applications for SSDI benefits. The SSA may also use the VA evidence to expedite the claims of those who have a 100% disability rating. Learn more about expediting the SSDI cases of veterans here.
DOES THE VA CARE ABOUT THE SSA’S DISABILITY DECISION?
If the SSA grants your benefits, the VA may not give Social Security’s decision much weight. One reason for that is the VA has to make a decision about whether your physical or mental condition connects to service. That is not an issue the SSA considers when they make their decision.
Although the VA will not give the SSA decision special deference, they must consider Social Security’s records. The medical records in your Social Security file could provide key evidence for your VA claim. You or your attorney should provide the VA with the entire Social Security medical file and your SSA decision.
In fact, the VA has a duty to request it. This includes any decisions by the SSA judge and the Appeals Council. The VA must properly weigh medical evidence and any other important evidence from the SSA.
WHAT IS THE MONTHLY AMOUNT OF VETERAN BENEFITS AND SSDI BENEFITS?
The monthly amount of your veteran benefits is based upon the rating the VA assigns to your medical condition. The payable rating system runs from a 10% to 100% rating. In 2022, payments for a veteran with no spouse or children can range from $152.64 per month for a 10 percent rating to $3,332.06 for a 100 percent rating. If you look at the VA rating table, you will see that having multiple medical conditions do not necessarily add up. For example, if you have a 10% rating for one condition and a 40% rating for another condition, that does not mean you automatically have a 50% disability rating.
Read here to learn more about the 2023 veterans disability compensation rates.
There is an important exception to the VA’s usual method of using your rating to determine your benefit amount. If you don’t have a 100 percent rating but are unable to hold a steady job because of your service-connected disability, then you may qualify for the VA’s Individual Unemployability benefit. Individual Unemployability pays at the 100 percent rate.
With SSDI, there is no rating system for benefits. Each persons SSDI benefit is different because everyone makes different amounts of money. Your monthly SSDI amount is based upon your lifetime average earnings at work. There is no sliding scale based on the severity of your medical condition. You either have a severe medical condition that prevents you from working or you do not. There is no benefit payment in the middle. If you win SSDI benefits, the SSA will pay you monthly benefits based on your individual earning record. As an example, the average SSDI benefit in 2022 was $1,363 a month.
WHAT ABOUT HEALTH CARE COVERAGE THROUGH THE VA AND THE SSA?
Once you receive SSDI and veteran disability benefits, you can get health care coverage through both programs.
Under the SSDI program, you will be able to get Medicare coverage. Find out more information about Medicare benefits here. However, there is a two year waiting period for your Medicare coverage to begin. The two year waiting period does not include the 5 month waiting period that everyone must wait before getting SSDI benefits.
Veterans can get health insurance coverage under the VA’s TRICARE program. TRICARE provides coverage for preventative care, vision and dental care, mental health, pharmacy benefits, and special programs for those in need of special treatments. For more information about TRICARE, read here.
If you’re getting both veteran benefits and SSDI benefits, then Medicare becomes your primary payer. That means medical providers will bill Medicare first. Your TRICARE will serve as a supplement to your Medicare coverage. It will cover some items, such as copayments and deductibles.
HOW TO APPLY FOR SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS
If your medical conditions keep you from working for over a year, then you may be able to get monthly SSDI benefits. Applying for benefits with our help is simple. We will help you file your application for benefits online on Social Security’s website.
You may not know how to do that. Fortunately, we do. We have spent over 30 years helping clients win SSD benefits. During that time, we have won over 20,000 SSD and SSI cases. If you receive SSDI benefits, then within 29 months of your onset date of disability, you will also receive Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits are a form of health insurance that pays your medical bills. Find out more about Medicare benefits here.
Make sure to apply for SSD and SSI benefits as soon as you know you are not going to be able to return to work. If you are already getting VA benefits, then you probably will not receive SSI benefits, because you might receive too much money from the VA. However, you can still apply for SSI benefits to see if you can get them. SSI benefits pay out from the date of your application and they come with Medicaid benefits. Additionally, benefits do not pay if your disability began after your date last insured. Learn more about the date last insured here.
With SSDI benefits, you can receive past due benefits one year prior to the date of your application. The opposite is true with SSI benefits. SSI benefits begin the day you apply and do not go back prior to that date. If you need to know how to check on the status of your SSDI or SSI application, read here. If you do not apply quickly, you are losing benefits. Learn more about past due benefits here.
HIRE THE LAW FIRM WITH THE MOST EXPERIENCE TO WIN YOUR SSDI BENEFITS
Are ready to apply for benefits? Then you should hire the best attorney you can find. You will want to hire the firm who has the most experience in order to win your veteran benefits and your SSDI benefits. Also, you want to hire the SSDI lawyer who will support you during the application and appeal process. You should also look for a law firm who specializes in SSD & SSI benefits like Cannon Disability Law. We want to be your legal team. The lawyers at Cannon Disability have won over 20,000 SSD cases in the last 30 years.
Your legal team should also consist of your doctors. Because you will need treatment and possibly surgery for your physical condition, such as spinal arthritis. Your doctor can order an MRI and get you the treatment you need. Learn more about back and spinal conditions here. Additionally, you will also need mental health treatment if you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Anxiety Disorder from service. The VA provides individual and group therapy options. They also have treatment programs where you can stay in the hospital for care.
This website contains a list of free and low-cost physicians and clinics in both Utah and Nevada’s free and low cost services. We also have information on Idaho’s free health services and California’s free medical services on our website. If you are suffering from a severe medical condition, then get treatment. Next, contact us today for help in filing your application for SSDI and SSI benefits.
HIRE CANNON DISABILITY TO WIN YOUR SSDI BENEFITS
Contacting Cannon Disability Law is free. We offer a free review and discussion of your case. Also, we do not charge an attorney fee unless we win your case. Cannon Disability Law is one of the best firms in the country. We are known as one of the best Social Security Disability firms in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah. We have won over $100 million in both ongoing and back benefits. Many of those SSDI and SSI cases have been for severe back conditions and chronic back pain.
The lawyers at Cannon Disability Law are also members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR). NOSSCR is a national organization that helps those who need SSDI and SSI benefits. If you need more information about how to win benefits, then you can learn about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada Disability Information can also be found on this website. If you are from California, our website has California disability information. However, we can represent you no matter where you live.
In order to fight the SSA’s denials, you need a law firm with years of experience. Hire us. Dianna Cannon has been helping people who need SSDI benefits for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have many years of litigation experience. Mr. Bunkall has a license to practice in Idaho. Learn more about filing for Idaho SSDI benefits here.
Together, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI hearings. You can trust us. We will do everything we can to win your benefits. Put our experience to work for you. Call now and win the veteran benefits and SSDI benefits you deserve.
WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER TO HELP YOU WIN YOUR VETERAN AND SSDI BENEFITS
You need to hire a lawyer, because you are three times more likely to win your benefits if you hire an attorney with experience. Since that is the case, it should be a simple decision to hire an experienced attorney to help you.
However, most people worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. Let us put your worries to rest.
You can afford to hire Cannon Disability Law, because we do not pay us an attorney fee unless we win your case. We also do not ask you to pay us any money up front. Because we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay any attorney fee until we win your benefits. If we win, then the attorney fee comes out of your back benefit. We charge 25% of your SSDI back benefit, with a cap of $7200. If we do not win your case, then there is no attorney fee for you to pay. Again, if you do not win benefits, you do not have to pay us.
LEGAL EXPERIENCE WINS BENEFITS
Additionally, Dianna Cannon is certified by the Veterans Administration to help veterans win benefits. She has won service-connected benefits for many Veterans, along with their SSDI benefits. You should contact us for help today. Not many law firms understand the VA compensation process and the Social Security appeal process. We are one of just a few law firms who have years of legal experience with both systems and we are near you.
Take advantage of our free review of your case. Call and we will answer your questions. You can explain why your medical condition prevents you from working. We will be able to tell you if you qualify for benefits, because we are experts in SSDI benefits. And, we will do our best to win your benefits and make the process easy for you.
Call today. When you call, tell us what symptoms you are experiencing. Also, be ready to tell us about your doctors. We also want to know if you are getting treatment for mental conditions, like anxiety or PTSD. Are you getting treatment at the VA? Find out now if we can help you obtain SSDI benefits and veteran benefits. Contact us for a free review of your case. Put our years of legal experience to work for you. We want to help you. Contact us now.