Qualifying For Disability Benefits as a Paralyzed Veteran

Submitted by Elizabeth on

If you have become paralyzed during your time in active military service, you should be eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. You may also be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. For example, if your history of employment has meant that you have gained the sufficient work credits required by the SSA to qualify for their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you could get disability benefits for your paralysis.

It is important to note that the fact that you can receive veterans’ benefits as a paralyzed veteran does not mean that you lose your eligibility for disability benefits. However, disability benefits are not paid automatically to anyone, including veterans. Instead, you must apply separately for them and meet or match the criteria established by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before being considered eligible for disability.

How to Qualify For Disability Benefits When Paralyzed

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a comprehensive manual called the Blue Book when evaluating all disability applicants’ claims (i.e., applications) for disability benefits. The Blue Book lists all the medical conditions that are eligible for disability benefits. These medical conditions are listed in the Blue Book because the SSA has deemed them as severe enough to be considered disabling and, thereby, qualify someone for disability benefits.

Your paralysis will be matched against a listing in the Blue Book to determine whether the symptoms you experience match the details in that listing. Given that paralysis can be caused by several reasons, there is no section in the SSA’s Blue Book that is specifically dedicated to paralysis.

The most common reason for paralysis is damage to the spinal cord. For example, Blue Book Section 1.00: Disorders Of The Spine, and Section 11.08: Spinal Cord Disorders both contain descriptions and criteria that discuss paralysis.

By meeting the requirements of a Blue Book listing, you can qualify for disability for paralysis. However, in order to do so, you will need to provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence that demonstrates how your condition is severe enough to qualify according to the SSA’s exacting criteria.

Receiving VA Benefits & SSD at the Same Time

VA benefits and Social Security disability (SSD) benefits can be paid simultaneously so long as your disability meets the qualifying criteria for both types of benefits.

It is important to note that, since the application processes for VA benefits and SSD benefits are separate, you may still be eligible to receive disability benefits for paralysis even if it did not happen while in active military service. In other words, for example, you may be receiving veterans’ benefits for some other active-duty-related disability, but later became paralyzed after your military service for some other reason, such as a car accident, workplace accident, etc. You could still qualify for and receive disability benefits for your paralysis alongside receiving VA benefits for your active-duty-related disability.

100% P&T Rating For Paralysis

If you have been given a 100% Permanent & Total (P&T) rating from the VA because of the severity of your service-related condition, this may help speed up your disability benefits assessment by the SSA. The type of disability you have is not relevant when it comes to an expedited disability claim. Rather, it is the fact that you have been given a 100% P&T rating, which means that your disability is so severe and untreatable that it is permanent and will prevent you from doing any meaningful work.

One of the criteria for obtaining disability benefits from the SSA is that you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months. It is important to note that a person’s VA rating (i.e. P&T rating) does not guarantee that they will obtain disability benefits from the SSA. Rather, it only means that this VA rating could speed up a person’s disability assessment process.

The more evidence you have documenting the severity of the paralysis, the higher your likelihood will be of being awarded disability benefits on top of your VA benefits.

Get Help With Your Claim

If you have become paralyzed and are already receiving veterans’ benefits, you can still apply for disability benefits from the SSA. This is because VA benefit and disability benefit payments can be made simultaneously. If you have been rated by the VA as being 100% P&T due to the severity of your active-duty-related disability, then the SSA may speed up your claim, although there is no guarantee of success. This is why working with an attorney can help you get the disability benefits you need. An attorney can help you gather the proper evidence for, fill out, and submit your disability application and ultimately increase your likelihood of getting the benefits you may need and deserve.

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