Veterans Disability Compensation
As your lawyer will explain, disabled veterans may apply for and receive benefits both from the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, your lawyer will also explain that the process involved with applying for and receiving benefits is different between the two systems, and most applicants are best advised to work closely with a veterans benefits attorney to ensure the maximum amount of benefits are received.
The Differences Between VA and SSA Benefits
One of the biggest differences between the VA and SSA disability systems involves the VA’s use of a schedule of disability ratings that assigns a percentage of disability to each service-connected injury or disease. VA Disability ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, with multiple ratings being combined not added. Only a veteran with an assigned rating of 10 percent or more is entitled to monthly compensation payments.
A veteran’s monthly disability compensation rate is based on the rating percentage assigned by the VA. This determination is made based on current medical records, service treatment records, service personnel records and any other relevant information that the veteran may submit. An experienced Veterans Disability lawyer can help determine what additional records to submit to strengthen an appeal. Even when the VA finds service connection, it often assigns a rating that is too low or that does not reflect the impact that the service-connected disease or injury has on the veteran’s life. When this happens, a veterans disability lawyer can help you appeal for a higher assigned rating.
Disability Determination Stage
In both the VA and SSA systems, a finding of disability may be based on medical evidence provided by a treating physician. While a finding of disability by one agency is not binding on a disability case in front of the other, being found disabled by SSA can be relevant to your VA case and vice versa. The VA’s process for determining disability is not as formal as the SSA’s process, which can make determining how to handle an appeal more complicated. A major difference between Social Security and VA disability appeals is that the VA operates under a benefit of the doubt standard which can be very helpful to a disabled veteran. A Veterans Disability lawyer can help a disabled veteran make the best use of this favorable legal standard.
Get answers to your questions about the VA benefits process.