It is possible to receive disability benefits from both the Social Security Administration (Social Security) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, receiving disability benefits under one program does not necessarily mean it will make it easier to get benefits under the other program. This is because neither Social Security nor the VA is required under the law to find you disabled just because you are disabled under the other program and each agency uses different criteria to determine your eligibility for benefits. For example, a veteran’s medical condition(s) must be service-connected to receive compensation from the VA, but the veteran does not need to be totally disabled. Social Security, however, requires claimants to be totally disabled due to their medical conditions but will consider all of the claimant’s medical conditions when determining whether someone is disabled, not just medical conditions that are service-connected.
While you can receive disability benefits from both Social Security and the VA, the type of disability benefit you receive from Social Security can impact the total amount of benefits you receive. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), are not affected by VA disability benefits, meaning you can receive the full amount of both SSDI and VA disability benefits, regardless of the amount of either benefit. Since Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based program, VA disability benefits will lower the total amount of your SSI payments. If you receive SSI, Social Security will first subtract $20 from the total amount of your monthly VA disability benefit, and then subtract the remaining amount of your VA disability benefit from your total SSI payment. If your VA disability benefit amount is too high, you may not qualify for SSI at all. If you have any questions or concerns please give our office a call.