How do military retirement or VA disability benefits affect eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Since the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is a completely different government entity from the Social Security Administration (SSA), it’s certainly possible to earn benefits from both entities at the same time. In most situations, it’s recommended to speak with a professional legal consultant before submitting a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application considering the SSA has even denied veterans who receive 100% disability benefits from the VA.

Eligibility for VA disability may actually increase your chances of being approved for Social Security disability benefits. This is due to the SSA recognizing another government entity vouched for your disability, implying you will likely not be able to work in the future.

SSI Income and VA Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance is not a financial need-dependent program like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but instead dependent on a person’s earnings record. As a result, receiving military retirement benefits won’t impact someone’s ability to qualify for SSDI.

There is one exception to this; if you receive VA pension. VA pension is provided for necessary veterans who are disabled outside of active duty and posses low income or assets. People receiving VA pension could qualify for SSI benefits, as both programs are based on financial need and provided to those with a disability.

Getting Help With Your SSDI or SSI Claim

If you’re a disabled veteran receiving military retirement benefits or VA disability benefits and are thinking about applying for SSDI, it’s highly recommended you contact an experienced Social Security attorney before applying. A Social Security lawyer can help guide you through the application process and make sure you do everything possible to give you the greatest chance of approval.