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Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I get veterans’ benefits?

Veterans are entitled to receive Social Security payments, alongside extra compensation that can be received if they are injured.

Darrell Bush, 96, left, a former US Army Staff Sgt., from Camp Springs, Maryland, and a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, places a flower with his wife Dorothy Bush, during a centennial commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Alex BrandonAFP

Since 1957, Social Security has covered all active duty military service and active duty training, and was expanded in 1988 to include inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has their own monthly compensation that injured veterans can receive. Like Social Security payments, these are measured by the severity of injuries. The lowest someone could receive, with 10 percent disability rating, is $152.64 a month, which could rise to as much as $3,816.04 for the most serious injuries.

The amount of dependents a veteran has also changes how much money they can receive, unless your disability rating is judged to be 20 percent or lower. The criteria to judge this is related to the number of parents and children a veteran has. The full list of monthly payments and their criteria can be found here.

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In good news for veterans, Social Security disability payments can also be received at the same time as payments from the Department of Veteran Affairs. There is no reduction of one because of the other as Social Security disability payments are related to the severity of an injury that keeps a recipient out of work, which will often apply in cases of disabled soldiers.

How can veterans qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

To qualify for the SSDI individuals must be registered as disabled and must also satisfy certain work history requirements. Bear in mind that family members working (spouse or parent) can also be used to satisfy the requirements, which would be difficult for many to achieve who are born disabled.

Individuals must also have had their disability prevent them from working for at least five months, although this stipulation does not exist for claimants who are suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A list of the disabilites that qualify can be found here, though bear in mind the list is not exhaustive and it is possible to petition the Social Security Administration to prove you have a disability that prevents you from working.