Social Security and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) operate under different guidelines and procedures when determining disability. The Social Security Administration may give VA determinations weight or consideration, but the SSA is not bound by the VA’s disability decision. Your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim may qualify for expedited processing due to the VA rating. However, the SSA decides whether you meet its own requirements to receive SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Let’s discuss why the SSA may deny a Social Security Disability benefit claim even if you were awarded VA disability compensation:
Differences Between SSDI and VA Claims
- Different Definitions of Disability. You must be unable to do any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental impairment to get SSDI benefits. The VA, on the other hand, rates disability on a scale of 0% to 100% to account for partial disability. It is possible to receive VA disability benefits even if you’re still able to work.
- Different Review Processes. While both agencies require medical evidence, they review and interpret that evidence differently. For example, SSA may not agree with the VA’s interpretation of your medical condition. The SSA may also require additional tests or evidence.
- Consideration of All Impairments. SSA looks at all impairments, not just the ones that are connected to your military service.
- Different Listings. The SSA uses its own “Blue Book” to evaluate whether specific conditions are severe enough to prevent a person from working. This book may not align exactly with the criteria for VA benefits. So, even if the VA considers your condition disabling, it might not meet the SSA’s criteria.
- Vocational Factors. The SSA also considers age, education, and work history in its disability determinations. If you’re older, have less education, and your past work has been unskilled, it may be easier to get approved. Someone who’s younger, has more education, or has skilled or semi-skilled work experience will find it harder to get approved.
As you can see, VA disability and SSDI claims are very different. Given these differences, it’s possible for Social Security Disability claims to be denied even if you qualify for VA disability.
What To Do If You Receive a Social Security Disability Denial
If you’ve been denied SSA disability benefits, consider consulting with a disability attorney or advocate before filing an appeal. They can help you better understand why you were denied and how to move forward with the appeals process. Call Ortiz Law Firm at (888) 321-8131 to schedule your free case evaluation.