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In addition to VA benefits, vets may qualify for SSDI and SSI

Those who serve our country unfortunately often have a difficult time upon returning to civilian life. Among the challenges are finding and keeping work and coping with disabilities received in the course of service. These disabilities are both physical and mental.

In addition to any benefits available through the Veteran's Administration, vets may qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration, in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. SSDI is paid to disabled persons who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Those who have paid into the system long enough are considered "insured." Supplemental Security Income is based on financial need.

The definition of disability as it applies to these programs is different than the definition used for VA benefits. It requires that one be unable to perform substantial work because of a medical condition and that the condition is expected to last at least one year or end in death.

In reviewing an application, the Social Security Administration will determine whether one is able to do the work one did before and whether or not one's medical condition prevents an adjustment to new types of work.

Veterans need not worry that their military income will prevent them from receiving benefits through Social Security. The pay itself isn't as relevant as is one's ability to perform substantial work for pay. Vets who are on limited duty and receiving pay may still qualify. Even those who are on active duty may qualify depending on the tasks they are assigned.

It can be helpful to work with an experienced attorney when applying for Social Security Disability benefits, particularly if an appeal becomes necessary.

Source: MarketWatch, "Social Security benefits for wounded vets," Jeff Rose, December 3, 2012

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