I have so much respect and admiration for the men and women who courageously put their lives on the line to protect our country.  Throughout the years, I have been honored to represent many retired airmen and airwomen, as my Vacaville office is located only a few miles from Travis Air Force Base.

Unfortunately, I have found that many of our disabled veterans are unaware that they are potentially eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.  Nearly four billion veterans live with some form of disability following the completion of their service, but out of this number, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that roughly only about 600,000 of them receive disability benefits from the SSA.

While not every veteran is eligible for both VA disability benefits and SSA disability benefits, many are.  The Social Security Administration will consider your eligibility for disability benefits whether your disabilities were incurred in or outside of the line of duty.  If you are unable to work (or only able to work a very limited amount), or if you have been diagnosed with a condition that is expected to result in death, you should investigate your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. 

While this article provides some food for thought, every situation is unique.  Therefore, I always recommend that you meet with an accredited disability representative to discuss your personal situation and determine if applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes sense for you.   

It is important to know that Social Security disability benefits are not reduced when a veteran is also receiving disability benefits from the VA.  While the VA may reduce benefits in some situations, the SSA will not. 

Veterans that are found to be 100% disabled by the VA are often times also eligible to have their disability claims expedited by the SSA.  In many situations, the SSA is notified of the veteran’s 100% disability determination and thus the process of qualifying for disability benefits from the SSA can move more quickly.   

In addition, in some situations, a veteran’s family members may be eligible to receive benefits from the SSA based on the work record of the veteran.  These family members may include a spouse over the age of 62 or a spouse of any age if they are caring for a young child or disabled, adult child.  Stepchildren and grandchildren are also eligible for benefits, in some situations.    

Also, some veterans can be deemed eligible for both Medicare and TRICARE.  This extra medical coverage can be very helpful in that Medicare could become the primary payer with TRICARE covering supplemental coverage for things like deductibles and copays.  I am also a licensed insurance broker, a designation that I sought in order to best help my clients coordinate these benefits and other benefits. 

Understanding the various programs and considering them in light of medical insurance issues and offsets can be daunting.  Let us help.  I am a local, accredited disability representative with 19 years of experience.  I do not charge a fee unless my client is approved for Social Security Disability benefits.  In addition, I pride myself on being a local resource and am always happy to provide a free consultation for anyone that has questions about these programs.