Archive for the ‘ Disability ’ Category

30
Aug

What is the Difference Between Veteran Disability Benefits & Social Security Disability?

August 30, 2019

The primary difference between veteran disability and social security disability is that one only serves veterans, while the other serves any citizen of the United States who qualifies for disability benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers disability ratings and payments to any veteran who suffered an injury during their time of service. In addition to taking care of service members, VA disability prevents veterans from being denied coverage for “preexisting conditions.”

The Social Security Disability Program seeks to help any eligible citizen who is physically incapable of reasonable employment. The program is also more complex than the VA disability process.

Veteran Disability Ratings

For any injuries sustained or initiated (bodily wear and tear) during a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine’s time in service, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs assigns a disability rating for monthly payout.

Ratings are given as a percentage, both on individual injuries and as a total combination of injuries. While the rating system can be complex depending on the number of injuries and the severity of each, the final disability rating lies somewhere between 0-100%, which merits a specific benefits amount.

VA disability is an obligation from the government to assist injured veterans as long as they suffer from injuries they endured while in military service.

A significant privilege to VA disability is the opportunity for the disabled veteran to continue earning a livable wage while receiving disability compensation. Naturally, disabled veterans are encouraged to improve their health and exercise discernment when re-entering the workforce.

Social Security Disability

Technically, social security disability is a payout on an insurance plan. If you’ve paid social security taxes (which are required), then you pay into social security benefits.

The social security administration does not assign a rating to those eligible to receive disability benefits. You either qualify for all of it or none of it.

While those eligible for social security disability compensation might be able to work some, the key is that they are unable to acquire “gainful and substantial” employment. As such, those who have qualified to receive social security benefits does not mean they magically achieve “gainful and substantial” employment while also receiving disability pay.

Specifically, those qualifying and receiving social security disability are limited in their working income to approximately $9,000 a year.

Changes in Disability Law After 2017

Prior to 2017, veterans receiving high disability ratings (usually 100%) with the VA were fast-tracked in qualifying for social security disability.

Each agency must perform its own investigation prior to awarding benefits. Before 2017, a veteran qualifying for full benefits at one agency pushed another agency to do the same.

Changes in social security regulations in 2017 allowed these agencies to work more independently. Therefore, each agency examines the evidence submitted by the other agency but may still make their own decision.

In short, as a disabled veteran, you may qualify for social security disability benefits in addition to your VA benefits. Discussing your injuries and current VA disability rating with an attorney will help you know your options and next steps to receiving adequate benefits.

For more information about how a disability attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

15
Aug

How Do I Receive Veteran Disability Benefits?

August 15, 2019

If you served in the United States Armed Forces and received an Honorable Discharge, you are likely eligible for a disability rating with Veteran Affairs.

No matter how severe the injury was, if they originated while you were in service, it is important that you make those injuries known to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Doing so involves filing a disability claim with the VA.

While the process can feel arduous, it is crucial that every veteran takes stock of their injuries and file disability claims. For many veterans, it is best for them to work with a veteran disability attorney. Doing so can lighten their load of paperwork as well as keep the VA from trying to deny claims that should be approved.

Create an eBenefits Account

The first step to filing and managing your disability benefits is to set up an online account with eBenefits.va.gov.

During registration, the government will confirm your identity and give you an online profile to track your benefits and/or apply for more benefits. In addition to assistance with your disability benefits, eBenefits offers a host of other benefits for veterans, including tuition assistance, vocational training, VA home loans, and more.

Make Copies of Your Service Record

Locate your service record, including your DD-214. Make copies of these documents so that you can send copies to the VA while filing your claims. If you are working with a veteran disability attorney, they will ask you for copies or make copies for you.

Do not ever surrender your original documents to the VA. They have been known to misplace your records.

Make Copies of Your Medical Records

You should also make copies of all your medical records, both during and since your time in the military. This process can be overwhelming, so you may want to ask for help from friends and family.

If you’re seeking medical treatment from a VA medical facility, then you should also set up an online account with My Healthy Vet. Doing so will grant you access to all of your medical records at the VA hospital/outpatient clinic.

Identify Your Injuries

Name every part of your body that has noticeably deteriorated because of your time in service. If you suffered a severe injury while in the military, that injury should be claimed. For example, if your knees were in pain just after getting out of the military, and your knee pain is directly related to things that occurred during your time in service, your knees should be claimed.

It can be helpful to solicit help from your spouse while itemizing your injuries. Don’t forget to take stock of mental and emotional injuries, such as poor sleep, irritability, or difficulty focusing. These are common side effects of anxiety disorders or PTSD and likely resulted from your military service.

File Disability Claims

Once you’ve identified what injuries you would like to claim, you can apply for disability compensation.

Because each veteran’s claims file can be different in terms of what evidence must be submitted, it is a good idea to seek assistance from a veteran disability attorney. They can help you complete the application and submit the appropriate documentation.

The VA will do their best to claim that your injuries are not connected to your service. If this is the case, a veteran disability attorney can help you challenge the VA’s decision and approve your claim.

Once your claim is approved, you will be given a disability rating which will designate the amount of disability you receive each month. You will be able to manage your benefits online through your eBenefits account.

For more information about how a veteran disability attorney in Indiana can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.