Q Can I collect VA benefits and SSI benefits?
VA benefits could be collected in addition to SSI benefits concurrently, depending on whether eligibility requirements are met. Qualifications for veterans and Social Security benefits like SSI are different.
Qualifying for VA Benefits
Veterans with service-related disabilities stemming from an illness or injury may be entitled to monthly benefits. These are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are completely separate from Social Security benefits.
The amount varies and depends on the rating given for the disability and the number of the veteran’s dependents. Sometimes higher amounts are given to those with especially severe injuries, such as the loss of a limb or those who have a seriously disabled spouse.
Those who receive a disability rating of 10 percent are entitled to $127 in monthly benefits. And those with a 20 percent rating receive $251 in monthly benefits. Once a disability rating hits 30 percent or higher, the amount will vary, depending on marital status and whether the veteran has children.
With VA benefits, travel reimbursement may be available. This includes public transportation (such as a bus or taxi) and mileage for driving. There are several qualifications, one being the vet has a disability rating of at least 30 percent.
You can apply for veterans’ benefits online or by filling out VA Form 21-526. You will need to include medical evidence and dependency records.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits
While VA benefits are made available by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Supplemental Security Income benefits are provided by Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits are based on a vet’s financial need. Those who are disabled, blind or 65 years old and older may qualify if there are limited financial resources and income.
If you are disabled and wish to receive SSI, the definition of disability is different than under VA. While a rating is assigned for benefits from the VA, with Social Security it is based on other factors.
For instance, your mental or physical condition must have already lasted or have an expectancy to last at least a year, or it must be expected to result in death. It must also be a condition that causes significant limitations.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a beneficiary is unable to work. You can receive SSI benefits and still earn a living. However, income must be less than the allowable limit.
While benefits from the VA and SSA require different applications, service members who are disabled on active duty may expedite processing of an SSA application. This may apply to wounded service members who are disabled on active duty on or after October 1, 2001.
Contacting Social Security Lawyers in Raleigh
VA and SSI benefits fall under separate programs with different eligibility requirements. If you were denied benefits or you need assistance applying, contact a lawyer at Brent Adams & Associates in Raleigh. We can evaluate your financial situation, the status of your disability and other relevant factors to determine if you can receive SSI and/or VA benefits.