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Can I Get VA Benefits with Military Retirement or Social Security Disability?

Published on June 27th, 2019

Veterans are able to access so-called concurrent federal benefits. This means that you can collect military retirement pay from the Department of Defense along with VA disability compensation and social security disability insurance. Previously, veterans could not receive disability compensation benefits in addition to military retirement pay, but the law changed in 2004 so that any veteran with a disability rating of at least 50 percent can now collect both. It’s now common for veterans to collect benefits from all three sources.

According to U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in 2013 nearly 60,000 disabled veterans received benefits from three federal programs simultaneously. Over 2,300 of these veterans obtained $100,000 or more in total benefits. But sadly, many other veterans are not getting the compensation they deserve. If you have been denied your veterans disability compensation, call Jackson MacNichol today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation.

You Can Receive DOD Retirement Pay and VA Benefits at the Same Time

Before the policy changed, veterans who received full retirement pay from the Department of Defense could not receive VA disability compensation at the same time. Each dollar received from VA disability benefits would be offset by one dollar removed from the retirement benefits. This system was in place to make sure that veterans were not getting compensated twice for their military service.

But retirement and disability benefits compensate different aspects of military service. All members of the military may potentially receive retirement pay, but disability compensation is only for service members whose health was negatively affected by their time in the military. For this reason, the ban on receiving both types of benefits was revised. Since then, the proportion of veterans who receive disability compensation has risen from a third in 2005 to almost half in 2013.

Social Security Disability Benefits and Veterans Benefits Are Not Mutually Exclusive

The Social Security Administration does not distinguish between service-related disabilities, which you may already be getting compensation for, and non-service-related disabilities. So if you developed an incapacitating medical condition as a result of your military service, you may be compensated by both the VA and social security. If you are receiving significant VA disability compensation, there is a good chance you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI.

Social security bases your disability benefits greater on your average earnings before your disability. So before giving you benefits, the social security administration needs to calculate your earnings, which includes your pay while you were in the military. However, military benefits–whether retirement pay or disability compensation–are not taken into account in this calculation.

By ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your military service, you can secure both your own and your family’s financial security well into the future. At Jackson MacNichol, our goal is to help you gain access to all of the VA benefits you may be entitled to. If you have been having trouble obtaining disability compensation, we are ready to fight on your behalf. We offer free consultations, so call us today at 800-524-3339 and tell us about your case.


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