Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Can't the Social Security Administration get the veteran's service record to confirm their disability?

Someone wrote recently (and I am paraphrasing) "Can't the social security administration get the veteran's service record to confirm that he was in combat and had injuries? It should be their job to research this and the person should not have to prove they were in combat".

The individual who wrote this, unfortunately, does not have a proper understanding of how the social security disability process works, and especially how very different it is from the way disability benefits are granted by the VA.

First of all, combat has nothing to do with eligibility for social security benefits, nor does military service. And the two systems make claims decisions unlike each other at all.

How are the systems different? Tremendously. The social security system (and this applies to SSI and SSD) does not use partial or percentage disability ratings. When it comes to SSD or SSI, you are either disabled and unable to work at your past employment or at any other form of employment for which you might be thought capable of switching to...or you are not.

It's that simple. For social security, it is all or nothing. And that means that getting disability benefits truly means being disabled in the sense that you cannot work and earn what SSA considers to be a livable wage.

In other words: your ability to work is severely impaired and if you could work a full time job you would not be considered disabled by the social security administration.

VA disability, of course, is very different. You can be rated at percentages. And you can be given 100 percent disability and still be allowed to work. Not so in the social security system.

At the risk of being repetitive: In the social security system, if you can work and earn what is considered a substantial and gainful income, you are not considered disabled. And this would seem logical to most since most people would mentally draw a connection between receiving disability benefits and an inability to work and earn a livable income.

Is the social security system harder than the VA system? Yes, mostly because for SSD and SSI, being disabled and receiving disability benefits means being disabled and not being able to work at a substantial and gainful level; whereas for VA disability there are many individuals who are rated disabled yet still work full time jobs, sometimes making as much as seventy to eighty thousand dollars per year (I know at least two individuals who fit this category).

Will the social security administration ever adopt the VA way of deciding claims? Despite the occasional rhetoric about this, it will never happen. For one thing, it would mean that the social security administration's budget would have to be 50 times larger to accommodate the fact that, in that very hypothetical and unlikely scenario, nearly every single applicant for social security disability would be approved for some percentage of disability benefits. That, of course, would be a far cry from the current environment in which 70 percent of applicants for SSD or SSI are denied on an initial claim and an even higher percentage are denied on their first appeal.

It is understandable that some individuals find the differences between the two disability systems confusing. The most basic thing to keep in mind however is this: to get social security disability or SSI, your condition must be severe enough that you are incapable of working and earning a substantial and gainful income for a period of not less than one full year. In fact, your condition must be this longstanding or be severe enough that it may potentially result in death.

In the social security system, if you apply for disability you will be considered either disabled and unable to work and earn a livable wage, or not. For social security, there are no partials or in-betweens.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

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    Social Security Disability list of impairments

    Social Security Disability Application

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    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    Would a person with 100 percent VA disability get Social Security Disability?
    Will Being A Veteran Affect Your Eligibility And Chances For Social Security Disability?
    Does A Certain Percentage of VA Disability Automatically Make You Eligible For Social Security Disability?
    Are you allowed to receive VA benefits and Social Security Disability at the same time?
    Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
    How Long does a Social Security Disability Determination take After Seeing the Psychologist?
    Social Security Disability Mental Psychological Exam and Questions that get Asked
    Does social security deny strong disability claims?
    Social Security Disability is different from VA disability
    Why are you denied the first time you are denied for disability?
    What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits After Divorce?
    Can I do What I want with my Social Security Back Pay?
    How much information should you put on a disability application?
    What disability claimants get angry about - Part I
    Social Security and not getting the medical records
    Social Security Disability will sometimes order X-rays but never an MRI

    These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    How to file for disability, filing tips
    What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
    Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
    What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
    Will you get disability back pay?
    Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
    Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
    Social Security Disability SSI status
    Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
    Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
    Qualifications for Disability Benefits
    Important points about filing for disability
    How long does it take to get disability after applying?
    Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
    Who is eligible for SSI disability?
    How to get disability in Florida