At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our Santa Barbara disability lawyers have protected the rights of California residents since 1956 — including the brave veterans who have fought to keep our country safe.
We understand that navigating Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation can be complex. Still, it is possible to receive both benefits simultaneously — and potentially others.
Here are some critical steps to help veterans successfully navigate both systems.
Understand the Differences Between SSDI and VA Compensation
SSDI and VA disability compensation serve different purposes and have other eligibility criteria.
SSDI is for individuals with disabilities who have paid into the Social Security system through work credits, while VA disability compensation is for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Understanding the distinctions is essential.
Apply for VA Disability Compensation
Start by applying for VA disability compensation if you have not already. You can do this online through the VA’s eBenefits portal or by submitting a paper application. VA compensation is based on your service-connected disabilities and is not affected by other sources of income or disability benefits.
Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance
If you believe you meet the criteria for SSDI, you should apply for those benefits separately. The SSA determines SSDI eligibility based on your work history and disability. Veterans with service-connected disabilities may still be eligible for SSDI.
Our skilled SSDI benefits attorneys can help with your initial application to help ensure both the VA and the SSA understand your intent to apply for and receive benefits from the other agency. They may request information from each other to determine your eligibility and benefit amounts.
For both applications, gather all relevant medical records and evidence of your disabilities. This documentation is crucial to support your claims.
We can help you navigate the application processes, ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted, and represent you in appeals if needed.
SSDI benefits may be subject to an offset if you receive VA disability compensation. This means that your SSDI benefit amount may be reduced based on the amount of VA compensation you receive. However, it is essential to note that not all veterans will experience an offset, and the offset rules can be complex. That is why we are here. You have served your time in the military and bravely protected our rights. Now, let us protect yours.
You May Be Eligible for More than SSDI Benefits
We will review your disabling condition and how it impacts your quality of life to outline whether you are eligible for other benefits and programs, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or VA pension benefits, in addition to SSDI and VA disability compensation.
Navigating both SSDI and VA disability compensation can be challenging. Still, it is well worth it for veterans eligible for both types of assistance to seek the maximum financial support they are entitled to by law. Let us help.
We have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.