What Disabilities Qualify Veterans for Social Security Disability Benefits?

by | Published on Jun 11, 2021 | Healthcare /Disability Insurance

Medical records are very important when determining whether an applicant is eligible for social security disability benefits. Medical records services provide the necessary support to review the voluminous records. Current as well as past medical records are required in this regard, whether the application is for SSDI (social security disability insurance) or SSI (supplemental security income). Current medical records are those that are less than 90 days old. To make the eligibility determination, the social security administration may need old medical records also based on when the disability set in. The required records include all healthcare documents including diagnostic test results; blood test results; physician exams; MRI, CAT, and X-ray scans; and mental health records among many others. Typically, the SSA (Social Security Administration) prefers to have a 12-month medical history of the applicant.

In this blog, we look at the disabilities, physical or mental, that could make a veteran eligible for SSDI benefits. If the disability is severe, the SSA may fast track the disability determination process.

The SSA has a formal list of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. However, even if a particular condition is not listed, the disabled person could still be found eligible. Here are some common conditions that would qualify a veteran to receive social security’s disability benefits.

  • Disorders of the Cardiovascular System: These cover a number of conditions related to the heart and circulatory system. SSDI would cover major surgeries such as heart transplants, conditions such as ischemic heart disease, or chronic heart failure.
  • Disabilities of the Musculoskeletal System: Musculoskeletal system issues are common among veterans. These result from physical injuries associated with active-duty military service. These conditions may be short term, such as fractures or herniated disks; or long-term, such as spinal injuries and amputations.
  • Disorders of the Immune System: Disabilities affecting the immune system – for instance, inflammatory diseases like arthritis and immune-deficiency disorders such as HIV – are covered under SSDI.
  • Mental Health Disorders: Veterans may suffer from psychotic disorders such as paranoia, schizophrenia, autism, personality disorders and so on and may be unable to work. A common mental disorder among veterans is PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder that usually result from traumatic experiences during active-duty military service. These mental conditions may be eligible for SSDI benefits, with the right medical documentation.
  • Cancer: Many cancer types are associated with military service, mostly in cases where service members were exposed to hazardous chemicals. These cancers could qualify a veteran for SSDI benefits.

Some disabling conditions that are granted benefits may be eligible for expedited processing also. This means that a decision that might normally take months to process could be processed in a few days. This kind of speedy processing is available for health conditions that tend to deteriorate fast and are very severe, to ensure that the applicant has a chance to receive benefits when in the grip of fatal illnesses. Some of these serious health conditions include certain types of cancer, neurological disease, genetic disorders or other conditions that could result in death or the inability to maintain employment.

Veterans receiving VA benefits for a disability that occurred during their active military service may qualify for social security benefits also. Though receiving VA benefits doesn’t prevent a veteran from qualifying for SS disability benefits each month, it could have an impact on the amount of monthly compensation the veteran is eligible to receive. Needs-based disability programs such as SSI may be impacted. Since SSDI is not a needs-based program, the benefit amount will not be affected by the VA benefits received.

SSDI as well as VA benefits don’t have an income requirement, i.e. the income a veteran earns from investments, pensions, or other governmental benefits will not have an impact on the eligibility for either benefits. SSI does have an income limit, and therefore receiving VA benefits could have an impact on the amount of available benefits or even lead to a denied SSI claim. SSI is meant for low-income applicants who really need financial assistance and the higher the VA benefits received by a veteran, the more likely he/she is to be denied SSI benefits.

What is the difference between VA benefits and the benefits paid by SSA?

A veteran could qualify for VA benefits even if they are not totally disabled. That means, even a partial disability rating as low as 10% could qualify for some amount of VA benefits each month. On the other hand, SSDI benefits are available only to individuals who cannot maintain gainful employment because of a physical, mental, or cognitive impairment. Therefore, a veteran with a partial disability that doesn’t prevent him/her from working may not qualify for SSDI benefits.

Medical chart review is a major consideration when determining eligibility for social security disability benefits as well as veteran benefits. Since there are many conditions that may qualify for SSDI benefits even when receiving VA benefits, it is best that veterans seek the assistance of a disability attorney. A reliable disability firm will ensure that their clients receive the best and most reliable information regarding eligibility requirements for benefits.

Disclaimer: The content in this blog is for informative purposes only and is not meant as legal advice. For a professional opinion on this topic, please consult a disability attorney.

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