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Requirements for VA, Social Security disability programs are different

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life Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Q: Are you eligible for Social Security disability if receiving VA compensation?

A: Perhaps, but not automatically. Requirements for Social Security and VA disability programs are very different. Eligibility for one does not mean eligibility for the other.

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With that reminder, during March the Social Security Administration began expediting disability claims for veterans who have a disability compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, designated expediting disability claims for these veterans as one of the agency’s priorities. This is different from the continuing Wounded Warrior expedited claims process, because that is designed only for military service members who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001 no matter where the disability occurred. Wounded Warrior information is at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The new expedited claims process is designed for all veterans, regardless of when they served as long as they have a VA compensation rating of 100 percent P&T. In order to receive the expedited service, veterans must tell Social Security they have a VA disability compensation rating of 100 percent P&T and show proof of their disability rating with their VA Notification Letter.

The VA rating only expedites Social Security disability claims processing and does not guarantee an approval for Social Security disability benefits. These veterans must still meet the strict eligibility requirements for a disability allowance.

Details about this new expedited claims process for veterans having a VA compensation rating of 100 percent is linked from the SSA website homepage, www.socialsecurity.gov, or directly at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/disability-pt.htm.

More about Social Security disability benefits, including an online application, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/disability.htm.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at howard.kossover@ssa.gov. Read his online articles at http://socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.

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