Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Veterans have served our nation admirably and dutifully and deserve the nation’s respect and support for their service. However, as evidence of their service-minded and self-sacrificing nature, many veterans are hesitant to lean too heavily on the support and benefits that are available once they return. For many veterans, they may even fear that if they apply for too many benefits they may lose some or all of their support. However, in most cases, these fears are unfounded.
Is It a Problem to get Social Security Disability and Veteran’s Benefits?
When it comes to receiving both SSD and VA benefits at the same time, there is no issue. In fact, a 2009 GAO report recommended that the Social Security Administration increase its outreach and efforts with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). The report stated that these efforts should include measures to increase access to SSDI benefits for veterans who have been wounded since 2001 in Iraq, Afghanistan, or beyond. In fact, Congress has passed special legislation to pave the way for wounded and injured service members to get disability benefits.
U.S. Law Requires Coordination Between the VA and SSA in Benefits Applications
Under Veterans Benefits: Joint Applications for Social Security and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (38 U.S.C. § 5105) the Social Security Administration and VA are required to coordinate efforts and also share certain information. For instance, the agencies are required to share the medical evidence and hospital records submitted, disability determinations made, benefits awarded, and benefit payment amounts made. While the agency’s are required to take into account the other agency’s determinations regarding disability, these determinations are merely persuasive and do not bind the other agency to move forward in lockstep.
However, there are other important benefits that a wounded veteran can receive when applying with the SSA for disability benefits under the SSDI program. Veterans should consider that the SSA will expedite claims for applicants who can qualify as a military casualty or as a wounded warrior. The military casualty and wounded warrior procedures impact how the claim will be processed for any individual who suffered an injury while on military duty since October 1, 2001. Furthermore, the exact cause or how the injury happened ins not a relevant consideration.
An additional benefit that wounded service members can also receive is when the veteran has a VA disability rating of 100% permanent and total. For these individuals, an expedited claims process is available. However, the applicant must still meet all SSDI program and medical requirements. Thus, approval for benefits through the VA can actually help you obtain additional benefits through the SSA by providing evidence and permitting for expedited processes.
What Types of Benefits Can I Get Through the SSDI Program?
Many people are confused as to exactly the types of benefits they can get from the SSDI program. In recent years, the U.S. government has generally moved away from offering cash benefit assistance programs so many people simply assume that this program has undergone similar changes. However, this assumption is incorrect. For qualifying individuals, the SSDI program still provides for cash benefits.
People interested in receiving these benefits frequently ask, “How much money can I receive from SSDI benefits?” to be honest, there isn’t a simple or straightforward answer to this question. The SSA utilizes a rather complex weighted formula to determine a number of benefits an individual is eligible to receive. Generally, this means that the amount the individual is eligible for is based on their past “covered earnings.” However, the maximum benefit available in 2016 is $2,639. Though, many people will qualify for benefits that are less than this amount.
Considering Applying for SSDI Benefits as a Wounded Veteran? Work with an Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you are considering applying for SSD benefits through the Social Security Administration, it is probably no surprise the agency has its own lexicon and process for determining whether an individual is eligible for benefits. Working with a Social Security attorney who can fight to ensure that all guiding law and SSA regulations are rulings are correctly applied can increase your odds of receiving benefits. Furthermore, if your benefits are denied, the SSD lawyer can work to find grounds for a strong appeal.
Ken Kieklak has fought for disability benefits applicants for more than 20 years. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Ken, call (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.
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