For America’s wounded warriors, the men and women who have given so much for their country, Social Security is now expediting their disability claims. This fast-track service is available to any military service member who became disabled during active duty on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred — at home or in the line of duty. The Social Security Administration says that expedited processing is available to veterans who have a compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total disability. Some dependent children and spouses of military personnel may also be eligible to receive benefits.

If you are a disabled veteran you can receive VA disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits at the same time. You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you’re unable to work full-time at any of your past occupations or other work.

To meet the requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance you must have worked full-time for at least five out of the last ten years. The Social Security Administration also pays disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits based on financial need.

There are differences between VA disability and Social Security disability. The VA pays benefits on a sliding scale, assessing disability in ten percent increments. Under Social Security disability rules, it is all or nothing. To receive Social Security disability benefits you must be 100 percent disabled — unable to perform any substantial work because of your medical condition and your medical condition must be expected to last at least one year or is expected to end in death. Social Security considers all impairments, whether they are service-connected or not.

To receive the expedited service, veterans must inform Social Security that they have a 100 percent Permanent and Total disability compensation rating and provide a copy of their VA Notification Letter as proof. Having the 100 percent rating does not guarantee that a veteran’s application for Social Security disability benefits will be approved. It only ensures that the claims process will be expedited for them. Veterans must meet strict Social Security eligibility requirements to receive a disability allowance.

Because the process and eligibility rules are complicated, we encourage you to call us at Cuddigan Law for a free, no-obligation appointment where we can advise you on your claim.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska