Benefits for Disabled Veterans (part 2)
In addition to benefits from the Veterans Administration, a disabled Veteran may also be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Social Security Benefits for Veterans
A Veteran should apply for Social Security benefits if they either have been unable to work for the past year or when their health is expected to keep them out of work for at least a year or end in death. No one has to wait to be out of work for an entire year before applying. The Social Security Administration considers all medical problems a Veteran has when making a disability determination.
There are two types of Social Security benefits – Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (a.k.a. “SSDI” or “Title 2” benefits) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (a.k.a. “SSI” or “Title 16” benefits). SSDI benefits are available to Veterans who have worked significantly in five of the past ten years. Active duty military service does count for significant work. The amount of the SSDI payment depends on how long a Veteran has worked and how much they have earned and paid into Social Security through payroll taxes. Qualifying for SSDI will mean that the Veteran will have access to Medicare to help pay for medical treatment once a twoyear waiting period has passed.
SSI benefits are available to Veterans who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. A Veteran must meet the low income and asset requirements to qualify for SSI. The maximum SSI payment is just over $700 a month. Benefits are reduced if the Veteran lives with someone who helps pay expenses or if they live alone but someone else provides housing or other living expenses. A Veteran who qualifies for even $1 of SSI each month also qualifies for Medicaid benefits to assist with paying for medical care.
It is possible to receive both types of Social Security benefits. If the SSDI payment is lower than the payment for SSI would be, then both benefits will be paid, with a total up to the maximum SSI amount. It is also possible in many cases to get both Social Security benefits and benefits from the Veterans Administration.
Elizabeth Lunn is a partner at Lunn & Forro, PLLC. The firm limits its practice to representing disabled individuals seeking Social Security and Veterans benefits. For more information about qualifying for benefits, you can contact the firm at 888-966-6566 or download the free Social Security Disability guide on the firm’s website.