Many articles talk about the sacrifices made by those who serve in the military. There are none who make a greater sacrifice than those who have become permanently and totally disabled as a result of their military service. We, as a nation, can never do enough to compensate these Veterans and their families for their sacrifices. But there are benefits available to disabled Veterans that they might not be aware of.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) began The Faces and Facts of Disability campaign, designed to raise awareness and provide information about disability programs.
One of the key talking points for the campaign is letting disabled Veterans know that they can qualify for Social Security benefits on top of their benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through the Faces and Facts of Disability campaign, the SSA hopes to educate Veterans about Social Security benefits.
Both the SSA and the VA can pay disability benefits to a Veteran. And VA compensation will not affect your Social Security benefits, and vice versa. But disabled Veterans should know that the two programs are very different, as are their processes and criteria for receiving benefits. Just because a Veteran was rated 100% permanently and totally disabled does not guarantee that they will be found eligible for Social Security Benefits. To be approved for Social Security benefits, Veterans must meet the SSA’s definition of “disability,” which include:
- The inability to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year, or result in death.
Veterans that have been rated 100% P&T by the VA can receive expedited processing through the SSA for Social Security benefits. First, Veterans should apply online, or at 1 (800) 772-1213 or TTY 1 (800) 325-0778 for deaf or hard of hearing. Veterans can also apply in person at their local Social Security office, but you should call ahead and schedule an appointment.
To assist Veterans and members of the public better understand the Social Security disability process, the SSA has created a seven-part YouTube video.
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Military Connection: Social Security for Veterans: By Debbie Gregory