Apply for disability Income: Answers for Veterans who apply for benefits

This past Veteran’s Day gave our nation pause to stop and reflect on the heroic roles of our veterans. This day allows us to pay tribute to all American veterans, living or dead, giving thanks for those who served in our country honorably during war or peacetime. But what happens if you become disabled while on active military service? The burden of yet another battle becomes personal as you face healing from an injury or illness and then living with that disability.

When is the right time to apply for disability benefits?

When should you apply for disability benefits and how is disability income determined? As a wounded warrior, we encourage you to seek disability benefits assistance from reliable professionals. At you may complete a Free Online Disability Case Evaluation to begin the process of determining disability income.  As you move through the process of completing a disability claim application, pay careful attention to the details, as our veterans, who become disabled while on active military service, should find that benefits become available to you at an expedited process.

What types of Disability Benefits Assistance are available?

There are two programs available for disabled veterans:  One is the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) and the other is the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI).  The former pays benefits to you and some family members if you have worked long enough and paid into Social Security taxes for a certain time period.  The latter will pay benefits based solely on financial need.  While some programs do give money to individuals with partial disability or short-term disability, the SSA does not. Military members are able to receive expedited processing of their claims if they become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. To receive disability income and apply for one of the above listed programs, you need to qualify under the Social Security Definition  of a disability as follows:

  • “You must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at lest one year or to result in death.”

In addition to the expedited processing of disability claims through social security, veterans may also seek benefits though the Departments of Veterans Affairs. These programs are entirely different and require separate applications.

How do these Disability Programs differ?

Both the SSA and VA have strict and separate definitions of disability as determined by Congress. However, after you apply to these programs, they work together to share records which assists in your processing of benefits. Qualification under one program does not necessarily mean you qualify for the other. The following chart below as shown on  highlights the differences between the two agencies.

 VA DisabilitySSDI
Injury/Illness (or aggravation of) must be due to military serviceYesNo
Impairment must prevent the ability to work at substantial gainful activity level at tie of applicationNoYes
Disabling condition must last (or be expected to last) at least 12 months or end in deathNoYes
Age, education, and work history can affect eligibilityNoYes
Monthly benefit amount and eligibility are not affected by the other programYesYes
Offers partial payments based on scale of disabilityYesNo
All or nothing disability paymentsNoYes

How do I prepare to apply for disability income as a veteran?

As reported for 2021, over 8.5 million veterans have received Social Security Benefits which accounts for 15.4 percent of all adult beneficiaries. If you plan to apply, you need to prepare with the following documentation:

  • Provide personal information (name, age, employment, proof of citizenship, information about your impairment)
  • Original or certified copy of your birth certificate or proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Form DD 214 if discharged from the military service
  • W-2 or income tax return from last year
  • Proof of military pay or worker’s compensation
  • SS number of your spouse and minor children
  • Checking or savings acct numbers
  • Your personal contact information
  • Any and all medical records, both military and civilian.

As stated earlier the qualification and approval process is expedited for military. Once all of the documentation is received, the State Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will review all of your medical records to make the final decision.  If any more tests or physicals are required by the DDS, it is done at no additional expense to you, but make sure you keep the appointment. 

If you are receiving military pay or on active duty, it should not prevent you from receiving disability benefits. The SSA works with you in every manner possible to determine your eligibility for benefits. You are not eligi le to receive disability benefits if you engage in substantial work for pay or profit. The DDS reviews actual work activity and not the actual amount of pay you receive or your military duty status.

Family Members of a Disabled Veteran

As with most veterans, you fought for your country and your family. It should be helpful for you to know that some members of your family may qualify for disability benefits based your work history.  Members of your family that could seek disability Benefits assistance are:

  • Your spouse, age 62 or older
  • Your spouse, any age, if caring for your child who is younger than age 16 or even disabled
  • Your unmarried child who is younger than 18 or younger than 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time. This does include an adopted, stepchild or grandchild.
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, who is diagnosed with a disability that started before age 22. This disability of the child bust meet the definition set by SSA for adults with disability.
  • A divorced spouse if married for at least 10 years, is currently not married and is at least 62 years of age. The money to a divorced spouse does not reduce the benefits to a current spouse or any children

As a veteran, you live the values that you learned in the military. You continue to serve your community, your country and your fellow veterans. If you suffer from a disability, it is important for you to reach out and apply for well deserved disability benefits. The professionals at are at the ready to provide assistance as you navigate the application process.

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