If you are a veteran who has a service-connected disability, you probably know firsthand the exasperation of facing the VA bureaucracy. It is cumbersome, error-prone, and seems to be intent on denying you the disability benefits you earned.
Congress intended the Veterans Administration (now called the Department of Veterans Affairs) to be a veteran-friendly benefits system. Unfortunately, the reality is likely to be far different. Veterans and their beneficiaries know that all too often the VA benefit system is uncaring and indifferent. Many initial claims for VA disability benefits are denied, and many Vets just give up in frustration.
But don’t give up. An attorney can help you to win VA benefits, or obtain an increase in your rating. Furthermore, what many Veterans don’t know is that if their impairment prevents them from being able to work, they may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in addition to VA disability benefits. They may also be able to supplement VA health services with the Medicare benefits that come with SSDI.
For service-connected disability benefits through the VA, the applicant must show that they have a disabling condition that was “incurred or aggravated by their military service.” Compensation rates are paid on a graduated scale, based on the degree of a veteran’s disability, ranging from 10% to 100%, in 10% increments. For disability benefits under SSDI, the veteran’s disability does not have to be linked to their military service and they do not take into account a veteran’s discharge status. SSDI benefit amounts are not paid on a graduated scale. However, Social Security can deny an SSDI claim even if a veteran is rated at 100% service-connected disability by the VA, as SSA has uses a different disability standard.
If you are a veteran who has a disabling injury or illness that occurred during your time in service or happened after you were discharged, we encourage you to contact our office for a free evaluation of your individual situation. For VA disability cases — whether you have a new claim or believe you deserve an increase in your disability rating — we partner with a law firm that focuses on VA disability law. If you are eligible for either SSDI or SSI benefits, we apply our decades of experience to your Social Security Disability claim. The result is you have a powerful legal team who will fight for your rights.
You served your country. You earned your benefits. You deserve better. As one disabled vet said, “we are not asking for anything we didn’t earn.”