Does having veterans benefits prevent me from getting Social Security Disability?
No. Even if you are receiving disability compensation from the Veterans Administration, you might still quality for Supplemental Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. While the programs are two completely separate ones and the criteria for each is different, they do have one thing in common – a long and sometimes confusing application process. But there is good news for veterans on this front, your local VA should have program in place to help you fast-track claims for disabilities occurring during active duty.
How long does it take to get my disability benefits once I apply?
If you are approved the first time you apply, you will typically wait 90 – 120 days until you receive your first check. If any back pay accrues during that time, they will include that with your first check. However, 70% of all applicants and turned down on their first application. Once you receive notice of being declined, you will have 60 days to appeal your claim. It can typically take 60-90 days to hear back from them on the appeal and, if you are approved, your checks will begin in a few months. If you are turned down the second time, your last chance is a hearing in front of the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge). It can typically a year or more to get your case in front of the AAJ and you will need to have a lot of information pulled together (your medical and work history being the most important) and also a compelling reason for them to grant your benefits. If you are approved, benefits (including back pay) typically begin in about 2-3 months. If you are not approved, you have exhausted your appeals process and cannot get your benefits. This is the main reason is it so important for you to find the best disability attorney you can find to help you through the appeals process so you don’t miss deadlines or get tripped up in the exhaustive amount of information you will be asked to provide.
What is an On The Record Decision?
There is a way to bypass the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) called the on-the-record decision. You basically ask that your social security disability claim be granted without a hearing. If you ask for it and it is denied, you can still have a hearing in front of the ALJ. These requests should only be made after the case is thoroughly vetted by an experienced disability attorney who feels the outcome will be positive in their client’s favor.