Social Security disability for veterans is easier to get if you have a 100% permanent and total (P&T) VA rating. These men and women would receive Social Security disability benefits in addition to monthly VA compensation. Though the programs may sound similar, you must meet two different sets of totally unique criteria to qualify for both payments.
In March 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) established an initiative to help veterans with a 100% P&T disability rating apply for SSD benefits. This program means the SSA expedites claims from veterans with this specific rating and potentially get faster approval.
Does Having a 100% P&T Rating Guarantee Social Security Disability For Veterans?
Unfortunately, no. Having a 100% P&T rating won’t guarantee that you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. For example: If your 100% P&T rating is for a short-term issue, you may not meet the criteria for SSD benefits. (A good example of this is undergoing major joint replacement surgery that completely disables you for a six-month period.) Social Security disability for veterans is available solely for claimants whose impairments last 12 months or longer.
The SSA looks at how much your health problems limit your ability to work when determining your eligibility for monthly SSD benefits. More specifically, applicants must still meet the SSA’s definition of “disability” in order to get those payments. If you’re unfamiliar with how the SSA defines “disability,” here’s a brief overview from their website:
- Your medical issue must stop you from holding a job that pays enough to cover your monthly expenses
- Your doctor must expect your condition to last at least 12 months in a row, or result in your death
In addition, you must meet these technical eligibility requirements, regardless of your health problems:
- You must have at least 40 Social Security work credits when you apply. In plain English, this means you worked 5 in the last 10 years full time for jobs that withheld Social Security taxes from your paychecks.
- Only applicants aged 18-64 can qualify for SSD benefits. If you’re old enough to draw regular Social Security or already applied for early retirement, the SSA automatically denies your disability claim.
- You cannot qualify for SSD payments if you already receive some Social Security benefits. This basically is the same thing as the bullet above, but it’s a bit more specific. Federal law says one person cannot receive two Social Security payments on the same work record.
How the Expedited Claim Review Process Works for Eligible Veterans
If you’re a veteran with a 100% P&T rating, you likely qualify for an expedited claim review. That means you basically skip to the front of the line so the claims examiner reviews your records first.
According to the SSA, you must clearly state your 100% P&T rating on your Social Security disability application. To do this, simply write “disabled veteran, 100% P&T” in the “remarks” section on your claim paperwork. Applying for benefits online? Then you should type the exact same words in that section of the online claim form. If you apply over the phone, tell the SSA representative about your status. Say, “I’m a disabled veteran who’s already rated 100% P and T by the Department of Veterans Affairs.” That way, the phone agent helping you apply for SSD benefits can add the appropriate flag to your application. You also need to give the SSA a copy of your VA rating notification letter that verifies the authenticity of your status.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Filing your SSD claim through an attorney makes you 2x more likely to get approved for the max benefit amount within 6 months. Those who apply on their own without legal assistance typically wait 2+ years for their first benefit payment. Even with a 100% P&T rating, Social Security disability for veterans may be difficult to get because the agency’s eligibility rules are completely different. However, you can sign up for a free phone call with a Social Security attorney to discuss your claim before you file. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get confidential claim advice without ever leaving your house!
All disability attorneys work on contingency. That means if the SSA won’t award you benefits, then you pay the lawyer $0 for legal assistance. And if your case wins, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee. Most people who apply with legal assistance through our website qualify for $10,000 in lump-sum back pay as well as monthly benefits.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.