Veterans And SSDI
The subject of benefits
for disabled veterans comes up often when we speak with potential Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants. Many veterans collect benefits through The Veterans Administration (VA). These benefits may include: disability compensation (service-connected disability or non-service connected disability) and veterans pension. Many disabled veterans who receive these benefits may not know that they could also be eligible for Social Security benefits
If a disabled veteran has worked and paid into Social Security through FICA tax, they may be eligible for SSDI
. The amount of money that you can collect through The Social Security Administration (SSA) is based on your earnings. This is different from service-connected disability through the VA. SSA will decide your payment amount by calculating how much you have paid into FICA up until the time you stopped working. The VA bases your checks on how severe your illnesses or injuries are. Since the VA and SSA are based on different factors of eligibility, you may be eligible to receive both SSDI and veterans compensation.
Are you eligible
for both VA & SSDI benefits?
Many vets have not been able to work since they were discharged because they have been seriously injured during military service. If you wait too long to file for SSDI, as many vets do, your eligibility for SSDI could expire
. Many vets are not aware that they can apply for SSDI in addition to their VA benefits, so they only collect disability through the VA. Years later, they realize they could have also filed for SSDI, but it is too late.
Is it too late to apply for SSDI?
The general rule of thumb for SSDI eligibility is that you have a disabling condition
expected to last at least 12 months, and you cannot be able to do any type of substantial work. You must also have worked (and paid FICA tax) for 5 of the last 10 years prior to your disability. When vets wait years to apply for SSDI, they are not only missing out on SSDI benefits, they are also losing future Social Security retirement money.
Most people are unaware that if you do not pay into FICA tax through an employer, you will not be eligible for SSDI. On the other hand, if you had been paying in to the Social Security system, but stopped working when you were under age 66, Social Security will average in a $0 amount to your earnings for every year that you are not paying FICA and not collecting a Social Security benefit. This is detrimental to your future retirement savings and is extremely important for younger vets to know. These young vets who become disabled well before full retirement age will miss out on years, even decades of benefits. If they are never able to work again, but do not apply for SSDI, their income will be greatly reduced once they reach full retirement age.
If you or someone you know is a disabled veteran, and you have questions about SSDI, visit the Social Security website
to request an earnings record
. This record will tell you if you have paid enough Social Security tax to be eligible for SSDI. You may also contact a GENEX Disability representative
to provide you with additional information on the programs available through Social Security, as well as SSDI eligibility
for you or a loved one. Contact us