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  • Christopher Le

How is VA Disability Different from Social Security Disability?

What's different about VA disability and Social Security Disability?


While funding for VA disability benefits comes from the Veterans Administration budget specifically, funding for Social Security Disability (SSD) comes from the taxpayers. You do not have to be a veteran to qualify for SSD, and it’s possible to receive benefits from both the VA and from Social Security if you are disabled or injured. However, keep in mind, that being covered by one program does not necessarily mean you’ll be eligible to be covered by the other. For example, the VA may determine that your disability, which is covered by SSD, is not service-related and therefore not covered by the VA.


VA Percentages of Disability

The VA disability system determines how much a service connected disability affects your life by assigning a percentage for that condition or disability. The Social Security system differs because it only determines whether you are disabled or not. Social Security does not assign percentages. In other words, Social Security's definition of disability is in all or nothing. Either you're disabled and cannot work, or your not disabled and can work in some capacity.


Also, keep in mind that just because you’ve been awarded SSD benefits, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive VA disability benefits as well. While both the VA and SSA consider much of the same information when determining your eligibility for benefits, they are independent of one another and are not binding on the other. The VA will need to determine whether your disability is related to your service, while the Social Security Administration will need to determine whether your disability prevents you from working at substantial gainful levels.

Social Security's Definition of Disability

The Social Security system defines disability by a lasting condition expected to last 12 months or longer, or a condition that results in death. SSD is different from VA disability because it does not assign percentages to rate how much a military, or service connected disability affects your life. Under SSA's criteria of disability. you’re either disabled or you’re not. Either you can work or you cant work. The easiest way to put it, is that with Social Security Disability, you have to prove that your medical condition prevents you from working in any kind of job out there in the United States of America. If Social Security believes you can do at least a few jobs out there in the U.S., then they will deny you disability.

VA Disability is Not Based on Income, while SSD considers income

Your VA disability benefit amount is not based on income. This means that you can be a millionaire and still qualify for VA benefits. SSD, on the other hand, is designed to help out people with disabilities who are unable to work.


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