I received a Social Security Disability denial, but the V.A. says I am disabled.

By / March 3, 2016 / Appealing If Your Application Is Denied / 17 Comments

Learn why you may have received a Social Security Disability denial after the Veterans Administration found you disabled and find out when to appeal.

The Many Ways to Define Disability
If you are wondering why the V.A. has approved you for disability benefits, but you got a Social Security Disability denial, the answer may lie in the fact that every government agency and private insurance company has its own definition of disability. Some of the public agencies are state workers compensation, state or county public assistance programs, the Veteran’s Administration, commonly known as the V.A., and the Social Security Administration. Some agencies even have more than one definition of disability, depending on the age of the claimant or other factors.

The Social Security Disability Definition
If you are a disabled worker, to be eligible for Social Security Disability, you must meet Social Security’s definition of disability, which is not the same as the V.A.’s definition. Social Security requires that you be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity in any type of job you have held in the past or, in any other job you can perform. As of 2017, “substantial earnings” is generally defined as $1,950.00 for blind individuals and $1,170.00 for everyone else.

You may have been approved for V.A. disability and denied Social Security Disability because Social Security does not make partial disability determinations and the V.A. does. For example, if the V.A. finds you to be 55% disabled, then they will pay you 55% of the full benefit. In contrast, Social Security does not pay such partial benefits. If you are able to earn substantial earnings, as defined by Social Security, then you are not eligible for benefits even if you have lost 55% of your function.

Appeal Your Social Security Disability Denial
Despite the differences in the two disability programs, if you think that you do qualify under Social Security’s rules and have received a Social Security Disability denial, you should file a disability appeal so that the Social Security Administration receives the appeal within sixty-five days the date of the denial letter. You can obtain more information about filing Social Security Disability appeals by visiting our article I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?

I received a Social Security Disability denial, but the V.A. says I am disabled.
1 (20%) 1 vote

  • Dear Rafael,

    I believe that VA compensation is considered in income deeming calculations for a child’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • greg

    I was listed by the VA as totally and permanently un employable and receive 100 percent disability pay but SSA has denied me because i make to much. Is this legal? I have been trying for the last 6 years and now they also tell me that since i have filed and been denied and haven’t been able to work for 7 years i an no longer file until I am 62. Is this legal

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Greg,

      Social Security and VA laws are different with different requirements for eligibility. In addition to being fully insured, you do have to be currently insured for Social Security disability benefits. “Currently insured” means that you have twenty quarters of coverage (work credits) within the ten years before you became disabled (fewer if you are under age thirty-one). If you have exhausted all your appeals on your original claim, then you have to be insured on the date after the last denial because it has already been determined that you did not meet Social Security Disability’s medical requirements at an earlier date. If at that point you had not worked for seven years, it would be correct that you would not be currently insured. You can apply for reduced retirement benefits at age sixty-two or full retirement benefits at full retirement age.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Stephanie

    My husband is 100% disabled through the VA but was recently denied Social Security Disability and was even denied at his first appeals hearing. My concern is that the judge in this hearing denied him despite a physician and the vocational expert both stating that my husband is unable to work. The judge asked my husband during the hearing how much money he received monthly from the VA disability, is this normal or even an ethically allowable question? I did not sit right with me considering VA disability is NOT considered income where the government is concerned. The judge also cited multiple reasons for the denial, several of which implied that my husband was faking or exaggerating his symptoms, he also stated that multiple doctor’s records were “inconsistent” with the treatment.
    We plan to appeal again, but I am just unsure of the success if this is the typical behavior of a SSD judge.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      From the information you shared, I’d say that the judge did not disregard the vocational testimony, rather he judged that the information in file did not support the severity of the symptoms and limitations your husband is claiming. Do go ahead with the appeal. You might want to have a physician review the records and the treatment to address the inconsistency the judge sees.

      If your husband does not have an attorney, now would be a good time to hire an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with the appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Stephanie

        Thank you Kay. Yes he does have an attorney who will hopefully also help us in the appeal of this decision. Is it normal for a judge to ask about other forms of disability payment during the hearing? Also unfortunately the “inconsistencies” the judge stated concerning my husbands health were regarding his PTSD rating verses the amount of care he has received for the condition. However my husband has been trying to get an appointment with the mental health department of the VA since May of 2015 with no success.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Stephanie,

          No, it is not normal for the judge to ask the amount of other benefits a claimant is receiving because that information is not pertinent to determining medical eligibility for Social Security. Given that mental health care does not appear to be forthcoming from the VA, I suggest that your husband try to get care elsewhere.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Robin Brooks

            I’m having a similar problem. 100% permanently totally disabled. I suffer not just from PTSD, but also depression, adjustment disorder, among many other aliments considered service connected. during my hearing the judge also asked about my VA disability income, he spent a lot of time on this asking multiple questions on my VA disability income as well as the fact that my husband is receiving college benefits from the VA because of my disability. I am currently appealing to federal court. It has been 11 months and I am deeply concern because we haven’t even heard from our lawyer on this and don’t know how to validate that the appeal has gone in.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Robin,

              You can call the attorney’s office and request the location of the court it was filed in and the court filing number. One of the office staff should be able to give it to you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Elizabeth Bowens

    My twenty one year old daughter as been determined by Social Security to be disabled since 1994 at birth. My husband and I were working people before his death in 2013. My daughter is qualified under a child, I don’t under what that means. She now receives SSDI, under her father’s work record. Starting August 2016, with a years back pay. When I applied for her to receive SSID, Under her father’s work record, I was told she would receive back pay from 2010, when her father started receiving SSDI. We have a family limit amount we can receive $4,100 a month, only two of us, I receive my widows benefits, Together we receive $3,560 a month. My benefits were reduced by $9.00 a month. What’s happening withe the remainder of the money in our account. Also is my daughter entitled to retroactive pay from birth. Thank you from my heart, please help me. Elizabeth Bowens.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      The amount of money paid out on most claims far exceeds the amount of money paid into the Social Security system. Insured workers do not have a defined account or pot of money to be disbursed. Benefits are paid as long as the individual continues to be eligible.

      Your daughter is receiving Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) not Social Security Disability (wage earners’ benefits) based on having become disabled prior to age twenty-two. Her benefits will continue as long as she remains disabled and does not marry. Unless you are age sixty (or age fifty and disabled) your benefits are based on your having a disabled adult child in your care. If your daughter moves out, you need to report the move and your benefit will likely stop. As a survivor, you can get reduced widows benefits at age sixty or disabled widow’s benefits at age 50. Full widows benefits are payable at full retirement age if you do not take reduced benefits at an earlier age.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Keith Dunsford

    I am Just curious about my next step, I recently (last week) received a SS denial letter for a request for review of ALJ decision. They based the denial on a a copy of a letter from the VA about my receiving an 80% disability rating, apparently ODAR made the decision based only on the date of the letter. They dont seem to have looked any deeper than that. Yes the letter was dated for June of 2015 which was nearly a year after I had been before the ALJ. Yet the VAs decision was retroactive to nearly 5 months prior to the ALJ hearing. Oddly my question is, can I reapply for SS while still filing for a Fed court appeal of the ODAR decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keith,

      I believe you can file a new claim while you have a Federal Court appeal pending if you claim a date of disability (when disability began) that is after the last decision from the Appeals Council; however, I recommend checking this with your attorney if you have one and, if not, with the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I am a Veteran Honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps and I was in an automobile accident (victim, not guilty party), on Nov.16, 2012 and I have had 2 major Rotator Cuff Surgeries and still currently under a doctor’s care. I have been fighting, appealing denials, hearing results and so forth. I sent another appeal with my doctor’s letter in re to my current medical and physical condition stating that I am not to work under any conditions. i.e., Light-duty or otherwise and I’ve been out of work due to this injury for almost 3 yrs now. What is my next step??

    Respectfully,

    Richard Guardiola Jr.
    USMC Veteran
    (208)- 577-8978 Cell
    (208)- 318-6584 Msg

    • Kay Derochie

      Richard,

      Are you appealing a V.A. claim or a Social Security claim?

      Thanks,
      Kay

  • Tony Knowles

    I was asked to forfeit my backpay of three years before I would be approved. Is this something that goes on all the time. It sound a little fishing to me. Would like some ones view.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tony,

      I am not certain what you mean by “forfeit” your back pay, but I will take a guess. Were you asked to accept the establishment of a later date of disability than your originally claimed, resulting in either no or less retroactive benefits? If you were, it means that the person reviewing your claim found that you did not have medical documentation to support your disability until the date they suggested. If this is the case, you could presumably decline to accept the date, allow your claim to be denied, and then appeal the onset date. If you have legal representation, it would be advisable to consult with your attorney for his or her advise in the manner, if you have not already done so.

      If my guess is not the reason you were given for being asked to “forfeit” back pay, please provide the reason you were given and perhaps I can comment further.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

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