Recently in Veterans' Benefits Category

Use of Department of Veterans' Affairs Disability Decisions by the Social Security Administration

April 11, 2011

904093_army.jpgWhen deciding a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the Social Security Administration is required to take into account a disability decision made by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). Similarly, the VA is required to take into evidence a favorable decision with regard to Social Security benefits. The VA's regulations, however, are not as claimant friendly as the Social Security Administration's.

According to the Social Security Administration's own rules and regulations, a decision by any governmental agency about whether an individual is disabled or blind must be considered evidence. See 20 C.F.R. §404.1512(b)(5); see also Social Security Ruling 06-03p. While such evidence is not binding on the Social Security Administration, various Circuit Courts have helped determine the weight that should be given to favorable/unfavorable disability decisions. See 20 C.F.R. §404.1504. With regard to a veteran's disability rating from the VA, the Circuit Courts that have jurisdiction over 20 states and over Guam and Northern Mariana Islands have said that the Social Security Administration must give them evidentiary weight.

For veterans living in Georgia, Alabama, or Florida, the 11th Circuit Court held that a VA decision rating a veteran's disability is entitled to "great weight". See Brady v. Heckler, 724 F.2d 914, 921 (11th Cir. 1984).

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Receiving both Social Security Disability and Veterans' Disability benefits

March 31, 2011

A misunderstanding exists that veterans cannot receive both Social Security disability and Veterans' disability benefits at the same time. This is not true. A veteran can receive both Social Security disability and service connected Veterans' disability benefits at the same time.

The misunderstanding occurs because both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans' Affairs have two types of disability benefits. Both government agencies have one disability benefit program that analyzes a veteran's income and resources when determining eligibility and another disability benefit program that does not.

Through the Social Security Administration a veteran can be awarded Social Security Disability (also called SSDI, Disability, Disability Insurance benefits or Title 2 benefits) and/or Supplemental Security Income (also called SSI or Title 16 benefits).

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