As your lawyer will explain, disabled veterans may apply for and receive benefits both from the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Veteran’s Disability Administration (SSA). However, your lawyer will also explain that the process involved with applying for and receiving benefits is different between the two systems and most applicants are best advised to work closely with a veterans benefits attorney to ensure the maximum amount of benefits are received.
The Differences Between VA and SSA Benefits
One of the biggest differences between the VA and SSA veterans’ benefits systems involves the VA’s application of a percentage of disability which is to be proportionate with the applicant’s monthly benefits amount. VA benefits are determined based upon a finding that the veteran is 10, 40 or 100 percent disabled. This determination is made based on medical records, and it is often difficult for veterans to obtain detailed medical records from VA hospitals and medical centers.
Disability Determination Stage
In both VA and SSA systems, a finding of disability is based on medical evidence provided by a treating physician. However, your benefits lawyer will explain that the SSA gives greater weight and deference to treating physicians than the VA.
Also, the VA treats the review of evidence in a holistic manner, reviewing the entire file without placing greater weight on one particular doctor’s opinion or test result. As such, an applicant may find it easier to obtain benefits from the SSA than the VA, or vice versa. Your lawyer may also advise you that approval by one agency may increase your chance of success in the other, but not always.