SSDI Lawyer for Veterans

Disabled veterans who cannot work due to their condition may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI benefits, in addition to any VA benefits they receive. SSDI benefits pay a set monthly amount to individuals who can prove they meet specific criteria. The application process for SSDI benefits can be complex, but an SSDI lawyer for veterans can represent you throughout the process. Veterans Guide explains why working with an attorney is beneficial.

Veterans suffering from disabling injuries or illnesses may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, benefits, even if they already receive VA disability benefits for conditions caused or aggravated by their military service. The SSDI program provides monthly benefits to individuals who can’t work due to a severe condition.

The SSDI claims differ from those for VA benefits, and each program has specific criteria to qualify. The complexity of the application process can be overwhelming, and mistakes may result in a denial—even if you believe you meet the program requirements.

Working with an SSDI lawyer for veterans can help you avoid errors that result in delays or denials for SSDI benefits. Veterans Guide explains the basics of the SSDI program and how working with an attorney can make the process easier for you.

How Does Working With a Lawyer Help Veterans Get SSDI Benefits?

The SSDI program is quite different from VA disability benefits. To receive SSDI, veterans must demonstrate they’re unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to their condition. Unlike the VA benefits program, SSDI does not offer partial benefits. So, even if your condition makes you eligible for VA disability benefits, you won’t receive SSDI benefits unless you prove you can’t work.

The laws, guidelines, and criteria for SSDI benefits are complicated. Substantial paperwork is involved, and a single error in your application can result in delays or an outright denial. An SSDI lawyer for veterans can help you navigate the application process and avoid mistakes that can adversely impact the outcome of your claim. Their knowledge of SSDI and VA benefits regulations can streamline the application process and help you get the benefits you deserve. 

Your SSDI lawyer for veterans will help you gather supporting evidence to support your benefits claim, including medical records and statements from physicians, fellow service members, and family. They will review your application for mistakes and areas where additional evidence can clear up any questions the SSA may ask when evaluating you for benefits. There are also other benefits in addition to SSDI that you may be able to receive, like VA benefits for example.

How Many Veterans Receive SSDI Benefits?

According to the most recent 2023 data from the Social Security Administration, approximately 7.9 million veterans receive Social Security benefits—or 14.5 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries. Veterans who served during the Vietnam War make up the most significant portion of Social Security recipients at 4.085 million, followed by those who served between May 1975 and July 1990.

Approximately 519,000 veterans who served between August 1990 and August 2001 receive Social Security, while 231,000 veterans who have served since September 2001 receive benefits.

The average Social Security benefit for veterans 61 or younger was $1,512 per month in 2022. The maximum benefit you can receive in 2023 is $3,627, increasing to $3,822 in 2024.

How Much Is SSDI Compensation?

The SSDI compensation you may be eligible for varies depending on your current and prior year earnings and how much you have contributed to the program through payroll taxes. The more you have earned and paid into the program, the higher your potential SSDI benefits.

SSDI benefits are generally available to people with disabilities who have at least 40 credits of work experience, although some exceptions apply. You earn a credit for every quarter you work in which your earnings exceed a certain amount. In 2023, the minimum earnings for a single credit is $1,640, which must come from either wages or self-employment income. 

The 40-credit minimum requirement equals 10 years of employment history. However, individuals without 40 credits of work experience may sometimes qualify for SSDI benefits. 

You can use the SSA’s Social Security Quick Calculator to estimate the SSDI benefits you may be eligible for.

How to Apply for SSDI Benefits

You can apply for SSDI benefits in three ways—through the Social Security Administration’s online portal, at your local Social Security office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. However, gather the necessary information and supporting evidence for your application before submitting your claim.

1. Understand the Information You'll Need To Provide

Some of the information the Social Security Administration requests in a disability claim includes personal details, such as your birthday, where you were born, and your Social Security number. You’ll also need to indicate whether you have dependents or are married. 

The application requires contact information for all medical providers, including hospitals and clinics, with knowledge of your disability, injuries, or illness. You’ll need to indicate whether you’re taking any medications and who prescribed them, along with the dates of medical tests you’ve undergone. 

You must also provide the contact information for your employer, including their name and address, for the current and previous year, as well as the dates of your U.S. military service. The application will ask you to list your last five jobs in the past 15 years and your employment dates.

If you’re receiving benefits through workers’ compensation, a federal retirement program, or state and local disability insurance programs, you must include the details in your SSDI application. You must also include information about any military retirement pension from disability.

2. Prepare the Documents You Need To Support Your SSDI Application

In addition to the information you list in your SSDI application, you must provide supporting documentation. Some of the items used to prove your eligibility for benefits include:

The Social Security Administration notes that it accepts photocopies of some documents, including medical records and income sources. However, you must provide an original copy of other evidence, such as your birth certificate. The agency will return any original documents after completing the review process.

3. Wait for a Response

The review process begins once you submit your completed application for SSDI benefits. You may receive an additional request for information if it’s necessary to evaluate your claim. If you receive a request for more evidence, you must provide it before the claim will proceed. 

After the Social Security Administration determines you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits, it will pass your application to your state’s Disability Determination Services office. The state office will make the final decision on your claim and notify you of the outcome. If the state office denies your claim, you may request an appeal.

How Can I Increase My SSDI Benefits?

Unlike VA disability benefits, there is no SSDI rating system. You won’t qualify for benefits if you have a partial VA disability rating but can still work.

It’s crucial to maintain copies of all your medical records related to a military service-connected disability for an SSDI application. You can include your VA medical documents in your application to further substantiate your claim.

Working with a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer for veterans can help you expedite the application process and avoid delays. 

Working With a Lawyer to Appeal a Denied SSDI Claim

SSDI even for a 100 percent disabled veteran can be a difficult process. If your state agency denies your SSDI application for benefits, you’ll have 60 days to appeal the decision. The appeal process starts with a request for reconsideration. If the request for reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge.

Working with an SSDI lawyer for veterans is vital if you receive a denial for benefits. An attorney can help you make a stronger case for your application and avoid common pitfalls that result in further denials. 

Veterans Guide can connect you with a skilled SSDI lawyer to handle your claim. Reach out today for more information.

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