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Impact of Social Security Disability Income on Other Benefits

Author: Law Offices of Coats & Todd

Published: 2011-01-13


Individuals unable to work may also be eligible for SSDI veteran benefits and or unemployment.

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Individuals unable to work may also be eligible for SSDI, veterans' benefits and/or unemployment. Applicants should be aware of differing requirements between these programs.

If you are unable to work, either because of a disability or due to the inability to find gainful employment, you may be entitled to one or more types of government benefits. You should pay particular attention to differing requirements between programs, and understand how submitting multiple applications may impact eligibility.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

SSDI provides monthly monetary assistance for those that are unable to work because of a medical condition that meets the definition of a disability according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The condition must be expected to prohibit you from working for at least one year.

To qualify for benefits a disability must significantly limit your ability to do the basic activities required for work. You must not only be unable to perform the type of work you did before becoming disabled, but also must be unable to perform other types of work.

Another requirement for SSDI is that you need to have been in the workforce for a certain number of years. If you are over 31, this usually requires that you worked at least five out of the 10 years prior to your disability.

The amount of benefits you are entitled to receive is dependent on your average lifetime earnings. Certain family members and dependents may also be entitled to collect SSDI benefits.

It can take several months for an application for SSDI benefits to be evaluated. Oftentimes initial disability applications are denied. You can appeal this decision. An attorney can assist you with your SSDI appeal , and advocate on your behalf to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) why you should qualify for benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI provides monthly monetary assistance for those who have limited financial resources and who are blind, disabled or over age 65. Unlike SSDI benefits, SSI recipients do not have to have to meet a work history requirement. Under certain circumstances you can receive both SSDI and SSI. You also have the right to appeal a denial of SSI benefits .

Veterans Benefits

The benefits available through the SSA are different from those available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Two separate applications must be submitted. If approved, a veteran can receive benefits from both programs.

Different Disability Benefit Requirements between the SSA and DVA: - DVA disability benefits may be available if a veteran is at least 10% disabled. - SSDI benefits are only available if an applicant is 100% disabled. - DVA benefits are only available if the disability is "service connected" (the injury must be linked to military service). - SSDI benefits are available to anyone who meets the eligibility requirements, regardless of how the disability occurred.

It is important to note that active duty status and receiving military pay does not, in itself, limit eligibility for SSDI. Rather the actual work activity a veteran is engaged in is evaluated to determine eligibility.

The general application process for SSDI benefits for veterans is the same as it is for anyone else. However, veterans who were disabled in the line of duty on or after October 1, 2001 are entitled to expedited processing of their SSDI applications.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is a state-run insurance program that provides temporary compensation for those who are willing and able to work, but who are unable to find full-time employment.

In most states, unemployment insurance is funded by an unemployment tax paid by employers. Eligibility requirements, the length of time, and the maximum amount of compensation an individual may collect are set by state law.

There is no specific rule that prohibits an individual from collecting SSDI benefits at the same time as unemployment benefits. The problem, however, is that the qualifications for each program are at odds with one another in most circumstances: - To collect unemployment, an individual is declaring that he or she is able to work, but cannot find gainful employment. - To collect SSDI, an individual is declaring that they are unable to work for at least 12 months due to a disability.

Occasionally, however, it may make sense for an individual to apply for both types of benefits. For instance if you are not sure if you can hold a job, you may apply for both types of benefits. You then would drop one as soon as your disability status is established. Because the application process for disability in particular can be lengthy; this option makes sense for some individuals. It also protects your rights since the application dates are sometimes used for determining when benefits begin.

The receipt of unemployment benefits is one of the factors an ALJ may take into consideration when deciding whether to award SSDI benefits. Thus, if an SSDI applicant has applied or is collecting unemployment benefits, it is best to have a reasonable explanation prepared.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have questions about what types of benefits you may be eligible to receive contact an experienced benefits attorney. A disability lawyer will help you navigate through the application process from beginning to end and work to advance your interests.

Article provided by The Law Offices of Coats & Todd - Visit us at

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