Filing for Social Security Disability if you are military retired

If you are retired from the military, you should have no problem filing for Social Security Disability benefits. Applicants who are retired from the military or are receiving Veteran's Administration disability benefits are able to file for disability just as non-military applicants. Social Security allows disability applicants who are retirement age to file for their Social Security retirement benefits while they wait for their disability decision. Therefore, they must give military retirees the same consideration when they file for Social Security Disability.

Having military retirement or VA disability benefits does not help or hurt your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits. You will have to go through the same process as every other disability applicant. You must file an application for disability with Social Security. During the disability interview you will be asked to provide information about your medical treatment sources and your work history for the past fifteen years (meaning the types of jobs you have performed over those years). After you complete the application, your disability claim is sent to a state disability agency for a medical determination.

Your medical impairment may meet the social security approval criteria of an impairment listing in the Social Security Disability list of impairments, i.e. the blue book or guidebook. If it does you may be approved for disability benefits.

However, most applicants do not have an impairment that in and of itself meets the severity requirements of an impairment listing. If your impairment does not meet or equal an impairment listing, the examiner will make a determination as to whether you are able to perform any of your past relevant work or other types of work in the general economy considering your limitations. If the disability examiner determines that your condition is so severe that it precludes all of your past work and any other kind of work you may be approved for disability benefits.

It is important to note the Social Security and VA disability processes are completely different. There are veterans who are one hundred percent disabled under VA criteria that are not approved for Social Security Disability. The main reason for this is that Social Security Disability is a total disability program rather than a percentage disability program like VA disability. For Social Security you have to be unable to perform substantial work of any kind while VA disability allows an individual to work at a job of some kind if they are able to do so.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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