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, if you are under age fifty, in any other job you can perform. As of 2016, “substantial earnings” was generally defined as $1,820.00 for blind individuals and $1,130.00 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?” For attorney assistance with your appeal, call the toll-free number on this page.