Can I Receive Social Security and VA Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

Can I Receive Social Security and VA Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

Many veterans receive Social Security benefits. But it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between the two programs, because there are different types of “benefits” available under both systems (VA and SSA). Since VA disability compensation is an earned benefit and is nontaxable, it is not generally used to offset your SSDI benefits. But other benefits may have an influence on each other. Here’s what you need to know about social security and VA disability benefits.

What Are Social Security Benefits?

Social Security offers several key benefits for individuals who are either of retirement age or disabled. Visit the Social Security Administration for a great visual comparison chart and other resources.

  • SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). This benefit is paid to individuals who have paid into the system long enough to earn the benefit, and they qualify based on some disability. Most people who earn regular wages from employment are paying into the system through payroll taxes.
  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income). This benefit is a needs-based program that helps people who are impoverished and unable to work due to disability yet may not qualify for SSDI because their disability manifested at a young age or they have not been able to accrue enough service credit by paying into the system.
  • Retirement Income. This is the regular retirement income to which most Americans are entitled upon reaching the applicable retirement age, which was traditionally 65. For those born after 1960, the full retirement age will increase to 67.

What Are Veteran’s Benefits?

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has numerous programs to benefit those who have served in the Armed Forces. Some of these are needs-based, and others are based solely on the existence of a disability that can be related to military service.

  • Disability Compensation. Compensation is based on your disability “rating.” This is a calculation the VA uses to determine your disability based on a service-connected injury or condition.
  • Similar to VA disability compensation, except it is not based on service-connection. Instead, it is intended to act similar to SSI to assist veterans who are disabled for other non-military reasons and are unable to work due to disability. Eligibility requirements can be foundhere.
  • Retirement Pension. Military service members who complete a career are entitled to a retirement pension. This is different from VA pension.
  • Survivor Pension. Surviving unremarried spouses of disabled veterans are eligible to receive a pension if they and their deceased spouse meet certain requirements. It is a small needs-based benefit that helps prevent a spouse from being left entirely impoverished.
  • Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC). For qualifying unremarried spouses of deceased veterans, DIC benefits can offer a significant monthly benefit. These are not needs-based. Rather, they are based on the veteran spouse’s status and disability rating with the VA.

Collecting SSDI & VA Disability

Given the complexity of the two federal systems (VA and SSA), you may be entitled to more benefits than you realize. Some veterans are even shocked to learn that they can receive their VA disability benefits and their regular military retirement without any offset, provided their VA disability rating is high enough.

Get Help Today

If you are a veteran with both service-connected and total and permanent disabilities, contact us to speak with our experienced Social Security and VA benefits attorneys.  You may be surprised what benefits you are missing.

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