Expedited SSA Process for Permanently and Totally Disabled Veterans
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced they would launch a new expedited process for disability claims filed by veterans with a 100% Veteran’s Administration rating for Permanent and Total disability. This is good news for veterans seeking these benefits.
If a veteran is receiving service connected disability benefits from the Veteran’s Administration (VA), the veteran can also receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits with no offset. Social Security disability benefits are an “all or nothing” benefit. You must prove that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity in order to receive SSA benefits. In contrast, veteran disability benefits are rated at various levels, percentages. A veteran may have one particular service connected condition or several connected conditions. Each condition is given a rating based upon the Rating Tables depending on the symptoms and limitations from the condition. It is possible for some conditions to be deemed service connected, but a veteran has a “zero” rating. When a veteran has more than one service connected condition, the rating percentages are combined using the Combination Table (they are not just added together).
So this new process with the SSA is for veterans who have a 100% combined permanent and total rating or have been rated at 100% with the VA due to a Total Unemployability decision. See, a veteran can have a condition rated at 60% or more, or the veteran can have two or more conditions rated at a combined 70% or more (one must be at least 40%), and if the veteran can prove they cannot obtain or follow a substantially gainful occupation, then they can get paid at the 100% level.
For many of my clients who have had a 100% VA rating, they never understood why they were denied SSA benefits. This is because each of the government agencies must make their own decision using their particular rules to reach a conclusion. So it is possible, even if it does not make sense, for a veteran to receive 100% rated VA benefit payments, but be denied SSA benefits.
This new process does not eliminate the individual evaluations. The process just expedites the SSA process to evaluate the claim.