Disabled veterans are able to collect both veterans disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits, but although both provide similar assistance, they are governed by vastly different systems. A Raleigh veterans disability attorney can help you understand and determine if you are eligible.
Understanding Veterans Benefits
Veterans who are disabled may qualify for as much as $3,100 per month in tax-free benefits, provided the injury or condition prompting disability occurred while serving on active duty or was the product of Department of Veterans Affairs' health care. Those who were dishonorably discharged are not eligible for benefits.
Factors such as the number of dependents in one’s family and the level of disability influence the amount of benefits for which veterans are eligible. Extra consideration in the form of special monthly compensation (SMC) is given to the following:
- severe disability, including loss of limb(s)
- a spouse, children or dependent parents
- immobility or paralysis
- loss of sight
- loss or loss of use of reproductive organs
- deafness in both ears
- organic aphonia, or the inability to communicate by speech
- loss of tissue from a single breast or both breasts due to radiation treatment or mastectomy
- no additional means of income
- a severely disabled spouse
VA benefits also include travel reimbursement for any veteran with a service-related disability rated at 30%, receiving a VA pension, traveling for service-connected treatment, traveling for schedule compensation or pension exams, or whose income does not exceed the maximum VA pension rate.
There are several significant differences between the standard Social Security disability program and veterans' disability. For help applying for both, contact a North Carolina veterans and Social Security lawyer and schedule a free consultation.
Key Differences Between Social Security and Veterans' Disability Benefits
For starters, you don’t need a total (100%) disability rating in order to be eligible for veterans compensation; most veterans do not receive a total disability rating. The lowest compensable rating is 10%, and veterans can have a 0% disability rating that isn’t compensable. Settling for a 0% rating is a strategically wise move because it means that there is some service-connected disability that could deteriorate into a more serious problem later on – one that will be compensable.
The largest hurdle for most veterans applying for benefits is proving that there is a service connection to his or her existing disability. With a 0% rating, that obstacle is already crossed. Veterans disability benefits, unlike Social Security disability, doesn’t allow for partial employment – you’re either disabled or you’re not.
Another significant difference between the two programs are the rules that govern the treating physician. Under Social Security disability regulations, the treating physician has precedence, and his or her opinion is given a significant amount of deference in the claims process.
However, a veterans' physician likely will work for the VA and may be less likely to give a positive opinion. Fortunately, the veterans disability process does not afford the physician’s opinion any special consideration and notes that the physician in question may be biased.
Get Help with from a Raleigh Veterans' Disability Attorney
Reach out to a North Carolina veterans disability lawyer at Brent Adams & Associates who can help you file a claim for Social Security and veterans disability benefits. You can schedule a FREE consultation by using our contact form or by calling 877-BRENT-ADAMS.