VA Unemployability and Social Security Disability
Before we talk about the relationship between VA Unemployability and Social Security Disability, we need to understand what Unemployability actually means for our Veterans.
What is VA Unemployability?
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Unemployability is also known as Individual Unemployability. This is a part of the Veterans Affairs’(VA) disability compensation program where certain Veterans get paid 100% of their disability benefits – even if the Veteran’s service related disability rating is not at that 100% level.
- You must be a Veteran
- There should be at least one service related disability rated at a minimum of 60%
- You have 2 or more than 2 service related disabilities. One should be rated at a minimum of 40%, or the combination of all your disabilities should amount to a more than 70% rating.
- You are unable to find gainful employment due to your disability/disabilities. Here, the VA office does not consider odd jobs or marginal employment substantial.
Supporting Evidence Required
- You need to present evidence of one service related disability at the very least
- You need to present evidence that these disabilities are preventing your from finding gainful employment
- You need to show that one disability is rated at more than 60%
You need to show that the sum total of multiple disabilities is rated greater than 70% or at least one disability is rated at a minimum of 40%.
There are circumstances when a veteran who does not meet these requirements will still be granted Individual Unemployability benefits.
VA Unemployability and Social Security Disability benefits
Veterans can claim both VA Unemployability benefits as well as Social Security Benefits at the same time. This is because VA benefits are based on your service related disabilities and not on your income the way Social Security Disability benefits are. Therefore, you can get both benefits at the same time.
For those Veterans who have little or no income, they can even apply for VA Pension as well as Supplemental Security Income at the same time.
The Difference between VA Unemployability and Social Security Disability
The most important difference between the two programs is that you do not need to be completely disable to receive VA Individual Unemployability benefits. However, to be eligible for Social Security Disability, you need to totally be disabled because of which you cannot find gainful employment.
Does it help to get approved for one program is you already have the other?
In the past, the answer was yes. If you were approved for VA Unemployability benefits, then your chances of getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits were very high.
Unfortunately, from 2017 onwards, the Social Security Administration changed their regulations, stating that VA Unemployability approvals would not be taken into consideration while a person’s application for Social Security Disability benefits was being processed.
However, the evidence that you shared with the VA department will be used by the SSA in assessing your claim for Social Security Disability.
The VA’s office will also not take into consideration that you are being given Social Security Disability benefits. This is because the SSA does not ask whether the disabilities sustained were because of military service. And the main requirement for eligibility for VA Unemployability is that your disabilities need to be service-related.
There are a lot of times that a Veteran has disabilities that are both service related as well as non-service related. So, the Veteran has to prove that it is a service related disability that is the reason for his or her Unemployability.