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The Difference Between VA Disability Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits

When it comes to disability benefits, things have a way of getting pretty confusing. That’s because there are several disability programs and more than one government agency that administers its own disability benefits program.

For example, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) provides Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) to disabled individuals, including veterans. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) also provides disability benefits to veterans.

So what are the differences between these two government programs?

Let’s see.

Some Differences Between Veteran’s Disability Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits

One fairly obvious difference between SSDI and VA benefits is that the two programs are run by very different government agencies. The Social Security Disability Benefits (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) programs are both administered by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”).

Unlike the VA disability program, SSDI is an insurance program. To be eligible for SSDI, one of the requirements is that you must have worked and paid into the Social Security system by paying Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes, or Self-Employment Contributions Act taxes. If you did, then the money you paid is a type of insurance, should you become disabled. The Social Security Administration’s SSI program, on the other hand, does not work like this. It does not require that you have worked and paid taxes. SSI eligibility depends on a person’s income level.

The VA disability program, however, does not operate like SSDI. VA disability benefits are not an insurance-type of benefit. The program is one of pure compensation. Benefits are awarded to veterans who were injured during military service.

Another difference between SSDI and the VA program is that SSDI requires that you be able to show through objective medical evidence that you are permanently disabled. For the SSA, this means that your disability must prevent you from working or from working consistently. It must also prevent you from making a certain set amount of money each month (called “substantial gainful activity level” also known as “SGA”). If you can earn more than the SGA amount, the SSA will consider you not disabled.

VA disability benefits require only that a veteran be 10% disabled. How much money in disability a veteran gets depends on the degree of his or her disability. Veterans can also earn as much money as their physical/mental condition will allow without losing their benefits.

Our active military servicemen and women serve our country with their lives. Monetary benefits can never make up for the losses they suffer for the sake of our freedoms.

Get the Disability Benefits You Deserve.

If you or someone you know is disabled, contact us. We are disability benefits attorneys.  We have offices in Baton Rouge, and we serve Baker, Gonzales, Port Allen, New Orleans, Zachary, and several other cities in Louisiana. To schedule your free consultation, call ToDay at (225) 465-1232 or contact us here.


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