How Do Military Retirement or VA Disability Benefits Affect Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Military retirement, VA disability, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits programs all have different criteria for eligibility, so the veteran would need to meet all the requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to be eligible for this program. Getting military retirement or VA disability benefits does not automatically make one eligible for SSDI.

A Texas disability attorney can help you navigate the application and appeals process for SSDI benefits and answer your questions about how military retirement or VA disability benefits affect eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Do Military Retirement or VA Disability Benefits Count as Income for SSDI Eligibility?

No, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not count your military retirement or VA disability benefits as earned income for purposes of qualifying for SSDI benefits. If you have other sources of benefits or income that take you over the SSDI earnings limit and you are younger than your full retirement age, you might not be eligible for SSDI.

The SSDI earnings limit is the “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) amount, which changes every year due to cost of living adjustments. The SGA for 2021 is $2,190 in countable monthly earnings for statutorily blind individuals and $1,310 for non-blind individuals.

Differences Between Qualifying

The Veterans Administration (VA) can award monthly cash benefits and other services for qualifying service-related illnesses or injuries that cause either partial or full disability. In general, the VA will calculate the current or former service member’s total benefit amount and then reduce it based on the percentage of the disability rating. For example, if your full benefit amount would be $3,000 a month and you have a ten percent disability rating with the VA, your check would be $300 a month.

The SSDI program only pays benefits for people with 100 percent disability. There is no partial disability aspect to the SSDI program. Either you receive the full benefit amount based on your work record, or you get nothing. Some people qualify for VA benefits but not for SSDI.

Will My VA Disability Benefits Offset My SSDI Benefits?

No, the SSA does not reduce your benefits because you get a VA disability, and the VA will not reduce your benefits because of your SSDI benefits. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for both programs, you could receive the full amount of your benefits from both programs without any deduction or offset.

Some other benefits programs, however, can reduce the amount of your SSDI monthly check. Workers’ compensation is one example of a public disability benefit that can cause the SSA to send you an SSDI check that is less than the full amount you would get if you did not collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Applying for benefits can be confusing and frustrating. Many people have to go through one or more levels of appeals before they get awarded the benefits they deserve. You can talk to a Texas disability attorney for guidance. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.