Veterans can qualify for social security disability benefits, regardless of their disabling condition if it is a result of active duty, or if they developed an injury or illness after completing their period of service. The SSA assesses eligibility for disability benefits through social security disability insurance independently of Veterans Affairs, so you can obtain both VA benefits at the same time as SSDI benefits. Here are some tips when applying for disability benefits.
Tip 1: Use the Blue Book to Determine Eligibility for Your Symptoms
You should refer to the Blue Book compiled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) which it uses for reference purposes when an applicant applies for disability benefits. You will need to prove that you medically qualify by providing the medical evidence described in the Blue Book for your medical condition.
Your symptoms are matched against a listing in the Blue Book. In some cases, the fact that you cannot work may be demonstrated by a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment performed by your doctor.
Tip 2: Submit Plenty of Medical Evidence
You can qualify if your disability resulted from your military service or if it developed while not in service. You can use any VA medical documents & conditions/injuries after you have completed your service.
You should also submit as much medical documentation that confirms the diagnosis of your condition as possible. This might include doctors’ assessments, results of tests and scans, hospital admissions and surgery performed on you. You will also need to show you’ve been continuing to receive treatment for your medical condition.
Tip 3: Continue Treatment
If treatments aren’t working, keep records of all attempted treatments and doctor’s orders in relation to your medical condition. This includes a list of prescription medicines.
The SSA may want to reassess your eligibility depending on the development of your disability and whether there is any chance of improvement or recovery. The fact that you are keeping up with advised medical treatment shows that you are keeping to the conditions set out by the SSA for continued eligibility.
Tip 4: Make Sure You Get an Expedited Claim If You Are 100% P&T
If your service injury or illness has been assessed as so severe to have given you a 100% P&T rating by Veterans Affairs, then this might help speed up your disability benefits application by the SSA. An expedited application does not guarantee eligibility for benefits as the SSA will consider work history and in particular the number of work credits accumulated in addition to the evidence for your disability, but the rating should make the whole process a lot faster than normal.
Tip 5: Respond Quickly To the SSA
If the SSA requests more information from you, reply quickly. This will help speed up your claim when you reply in a timely manner. They may request more medical evidence or clarification on your application.
Tip 6: Speak With a Disability Attorney
Applying for disability benefits in addition to VA benefits can be a confusing and sometimes frustrating experience. Many disability benefits are initially rejected because the applicant hasn’t understood the process and what they need to prove clearly enough.
A disability attorney may be able to help with your claim. The attorney cannot speed up the assessment process, but can help you with submitting information and medical evidence as well as represent you if an appeal is necessary.
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