What You Need to Know: Social Security and Long-Term Disability Benefits

What You Need to Know: Social Security and Long-Term Disability Benefits

What You Need to Know: Social Security and Long-Term Disability Benefits

Long-term disability insurance can be a great safety net. But, what happens if you have long-term disability and you would also be qualified for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI)? Understanding how these benefits work together can help with your planning while you’re healthy and working, and ease the path toward securing payments if you become disabled.

Does Long-Term Disability Insurance Disqualify You for SSDI? 

Many people are concerned that long-term disability will make them ineligible for SSDI or reduce the amount of benefits available. Social Security disability is not need-based, which means most other income has no impact on eligibility. The main exception is income earned from work, since that income may demonstrate that you’re still able to participate in substantial gainful activity.

Private long-term disability benefits will not impact SSDI eligibility or the amount of benefits received. However, certain other types of disability benefits may affect SSDI. For example, if you are receiving long-term disability through workers’ compensation, you may still qualify for Social Security disability. However, there is a cap on the combined amount of benefits you may receive. So, your SSDI payments may be reduced. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is different. SSI is need-based, and the income cut-off is low. In 2023, it’s just $934/month. So, depending on the amount, long-term disability could disqualify a disabled person from receiving SSI benefits. In fact, many SSDI applicants are disqualified from SSI based on their SSDI income.

Does SSDI Affect Long-Term Disability Benefits? 

The short answer is that it depends on your policy. Typically, a long-term disability insurance carrier will require beneficiaries who are qualified for Social Security disability to apply for those benefits. In that case, failing to apply for SSDI could mean losing long-term disability benefits. If you are receiving or have become eligible for private long-term disability benefits, make sure you know whether your policy requires you to apply for SSDI and what the time limit is. 

Many policies provide that benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSDI received. For example, if you are receiving $2,000/month in private long-term disability benefits and are approved for $800/month in SSDI, the long-term disability payments may drop to $1,200/month. 

Talk to a Disability Benefits Advocate

At Disability Help Group, we know how daunting and confusing coordinating disability benefits can be. We’re here to help make sure you receive all of the benefits you’re entitled to, and get them as quickly as possible. To learn more about how we can help, contact or call us (800) 800-3332.

Tips for Getting Your Disability Benefits Approved Fast

Tips for Getting Your Disability Benefits Approved Fast

Tips for Getting Your Disability Benefits Approved Fast

Social Security disability benefits offer an important lifeline to people who are no longer able to work. But, the application and appeals process can be lengthy. The delay in receiving benefits can mean a rough transition for someone who has lost their source of income. While there’s no magic bullet for getting benefits quickly, there are some steps you can take to keep your application for disability benefits moving forward smoothly and speed up approval. 

How to Apply for SSDI for the Quickest Response

Speeding up the Social Security disability benefits approval process starts with your application. 

That includes: 

Applying For Disability Benefits as Soon as You Become Disabled

For nearly all conditions, there’s a five-month waiting period. That means you don’t receive benefits until the sixth month after you become disabled. But, that doesn’t mean you should wait until the sixth month to apply. In 2021, the average processing time for an initial SSDI application was 147 days. That’s nearly five months, so get the ball rolling as soon as you have the necessary information. 

Applying Online

The SSA says applying online can reduce the time it takes to receive a determination on your initial Social Security disability application. 

Making Sure Your Disability Benefits Application is Complete

Missing information can mean delays or even a denial. The SSA offers a checklist of information you’ll need to apply, along with a worksheet to help you organize your work history and medical conditions. Take advantage of these tools to make sure your application is thorough. (And don’t be confused by the header that says these documents are for interview prep–the questions will be the same whether you apply online or live.) 

Provide as Much Medical Information as Possible

SSA can help obtain medical records if necessary. But, the more information you include with the initial application, the more efficient the process. 

Keep the SSDI Application Process Moving

Most initial applications are denied. A lot of Social Security disability applicants who are denied in the first round are later approved, so don’t get discouraged. But, don’t drag your feet, either. The sooner you move on to the next step in the process, the sooner you’ll get that next decision. And, there’s a deadline for each additional step. If you miss that, you may have to start from scratch, and that could delay the process by months. 

A Social Security Disability Advocate Can Help

At Disability Help Group, we know it’s easy to get bogged down in the SSDI application and appeals process. Our team of caring, experienced advocates is here to help you navigate that process, avoid unnecessary delays, and improve your chances of approval. 
To learn more, call (800) 800-3332 right now, or fill out the contact form on this site.

How Long Does it Take to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

How Long Does it Take to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

How Long Does it Take to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average processing time for a new Social Security Disability (SSDI) application is three to six months. But, the average processing time varies from state to state. And, that estimate can be a bit misleading. That’s the average time SSA says you should expect to wait for an initial determination. But, a significant percentage of applications are denied at this stage. Working your way through the process of reconsideration and appeals can take much longer. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to speed up the initial application process and increase your chances of being approved earlier in the process. 

Expediting Your SSDI Application 

SSA doesn’t offer an expedited process for disability benefits, but you can take steps to make the process as efficient as possible. First, SSA says you can cut your processing time in half if you apply online. 

Ensuring that your SSDI application is complete, you’ve provided all necessary documentation, and your medical providers promptly share necessary information can also help move the process forward. A Social Security Disability Benefits Advocate can be your best source of assistance in putting together a clear and complete application to give you the best chance of approval. 

What if the Initial SSDI Application is Denied? 

If your initial SSDI application is denied, the next step in most states is a request for reconsideration. This step is usually quicker than the initial application, but the success rate is low. The highest rate of approval occurs at the next stage: a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). However, it can take more than a year to get a hearing before an ALJ, and then several months to receive your determination. Those who are denied at this stage may require an additional step, or even two, to complete the process. 

In short, a claim for Social Security disability benefits may be approved in just a few months, and you may begin receiving benefits as soon as six months after you become disabled. But, most SSDI application claims are denied in the initial rounds, meaning that many who apply for disability benefits don’t start receiving benefits for two years or more. 

A Social Security Disability Advocate Can Help

Your best chance of receiving Social Security disability benefits as quickly as possible is to ensure that you avoid missteps in the process, don’t miss any appeal deadlines, and provide complete documentation to the SSA in a format that is easy to work with. 

The process can be daunting. At Disability Help Group, we understand the process, and we understand the stress you’re under and how important it is for you to receive your disability benefits. To learn more about how we can help, call (800) 800-2009 or contact us right now.

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST?

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disability triggered by a traumatic event.  When the average person thinks of a traumatic military event, they often think of combat.  However, some military threats come from within our own ranks.  Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, refers to experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment during military service.  According to the Department of Defense, about 13,000 women and 7,500 men experienced an MST in 2018.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Military Sexual Trauma includes any sexual activity where a service member is involved against his or her will.  He or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied better treatment in exchange for sex), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.  Other MST experiences include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; and threatening and unwelcome sexual advances.  PTSD is the most common mental health diagnosis related to MST.  You may be eligible for VA 100% if your PTSD is due to MST.

Service Connection PTSD due to MST

Before VA will assign a 100% rating for PTSD due to MST, it must first determine whether it is related to service.  In other words, VA must first grant service connection before it will assign a rating.

There are 4 requirements to prove service connected PTSD due to MST

  1. current diagnosis,
  2. in-service event, disease or injury,
  3. medical nexus between the first 2 elements, and
  4. credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred.

Challenge of Proving MST

Most victims are not eager to report MST to their superiors.  This is especially true if a superior committed the MST.  VA is well aware of this.  Absent an official law enforcement record, how does one prove PTSD due to MST?

Evidence Specific to MST

Instead of requiring a smoking gun, VA looks for credible supporting evidence. Credible supporting evidence of MST includes:

  • In-service pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases,
  • Statements from clergy, family members, roommates, or
  • Evidence of behavior changes following the claimed assault.

Disability Help Group Case Study

A 26 year-old female veteran of the Marines reported a military sexual assault to her civilian priest.  However, she did not report it to superiors for fear of retaliation.  The assailant was her commanding officer.  Within a year of discharge, she filed a claim for PTSD due to MST.  VA denied the claim for lack of credible supporting evidence.  She hired us to assist with her appeal.   Our representatives obtained a lay statement from her priest and submitted it to VA.  In addition, Disability Help Group sent specific portions of her military personnel records.  The personnel records showed that all her Article 15 punishments happened after the MST.  VA found the priest’s statement credible, and the Article 15s lined up after the approximate date of the MST.  Based on this credible supporting evidence, VA granted the claim for PTSD due to MST.

Rating PTSD due to MST

After VA grants service connection for PTSD due to MST, it must determine the correct rating.  To do so, VA consults the Schedule of Ratings.

Schedule of Ratings

The Schedule of Ratings breaks down disabilities into different categories.  Each category contains groups of medical problems.  For example, PTSD due to MST is found the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders.  Depending on the symptoms, a veteran may receive either 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%.

100% Rating: Total occupational and social impairment from PTSD due to MST

  • gross impairment in thought processes or communication;
  • persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior;
  • persistent danger of hurting self or others;
  • intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene);
  • disorientation to time or place;
  • memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name

70% Rating: Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood

  • suicidal ideation;
  • obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities;
  • speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant;
  • near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively;
  • impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence);
  • spatial disorientation;
  • neglect of personal appearance and hygiene;
  • difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting);
  • inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

50% Rating: Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity

  • flattened affect;
  • circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech;
  • panic attacks more than once a week;
  • difficulty in understanding complex commands;
  • impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks);
  • impaired judgment;
  • impaired abstract thinking;
  • disturbances of motivation and mood;
  • difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.

30% Rating: Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal)

  • depressed mood,
  • anxiety,
  • suspiciousness,
  • panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).

10% = Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms

  • decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational; tasks only during periods of significant stress; or
  • symptoms controlled by continuous medication.

0% Rating: A mental condition has been formally diagnosed

  • Symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning; or
  • to require continuous medication.

You May Be Entitled to VA 100% PTSD due to MST

The type, severity, and duration of a veteran’s symptoms will vary based on a number of factors.  For example, race, religion, and sexual orientation can affect the impact of MST.  Whether the MST happened once or was repeated over time may affect how long the symptoms last.  If your PTSD due to MST has caused any of the symptoms in the 100% range, then you may be entitled to VA 100%.

Call Disability Help Group for a FREE Case Review, 1-800-700-0652.

If you have more questions about getting a 100% rating for PTSD due to MST, please fill out our information form or call us.  We offer a 100% guaranteed free case review.  We will be happy to answer your questions.

Related Articles

Our website is also full of helpful information. Firstly, if you would like to review other blogs, click here. Secondly, if you would like to see a list of resources click here. And thirdly, you can click on Testimonials to read the great comments we receive.

Resource for PTSD due to MST

Can I get VA 100% for Sleep Apnea?

Can I get VA 100% for Sleep Apnea?

Service Connection

In order for the VA to assign a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, the VA must first determine that the condition is related to service.

Generally, VA will grant service connection if the following are met:

  1. Proof of a current diagnosis,
  2. Proof of an in-service event, disease or injury, and
  3. Proof of a medical nexus between the first 2 elements.

VA Schedule of Rating

After VA grants service connection, it must determine the correct rating.  To do so, VA consults the Schedule of Ratings.  The ratings should reflect how much that specific disability impairs your ability to work.  In order to get a 100% rating for sleep apnea, it must be so severe that it prevents gainful employment.

Requirements Specific to Sleep Apnea

The Schedule of Ratings breaks down disabilities into different categories. Each category contains groups of medical problems.  For example, Sleep Apnea is found in the Respiratory System category.  Each group contains a list of disabilities, and each disability has its own diagnostic code.  In turn, each diagnostic code specifies the symptoms required for various ratings.  For example, the 6847 code applies to Sleep Apnea.  See 38 C.F.R. § 4.97.  A 100% VA rating for Sleep Apnea requires:

  1. Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or
  2. The condition requires tracheostomy.

Chronic Respiratory Failure

Chronic respiratory failure usually happens when the airways that carry air to your lungs become narrow and damaged.  In other words, less oxygen gets in and less carbon dioxide goes out.  A tracheostomy is a surgically made hole in the front of your neck where a breathing tube is connected to your windpipe to help you breathe.  Naturally, a veteran with these extreme symptoms deserves a 100% VA rating for Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea Medical Evidence

Only medical evidence can satisfy these requirements.  It is not enough for the veteran to say “I cannot work because of my sleep apnea.”  Fortunately, VA provides rating tools such as Disability Benefits Questionnaires (“DBQs”) on their website.  Specifically, VA provides a Sleep Apnea DBQ that focuses on the symptoms described in the Schedule.  Veterans seeking a higher rating for sleep apnea should have their doctors complete the DBQ. The VA will likely grant the rating if the DBQ includes the criteria for a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea.

Disability Benefits Questionnaire

A doctor who treats the disability in question should fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire.  For example, an orthopedic specialist who is treating a foot condition should not complete a DBQ for PTSD.

Watch out for Pyramiding

When seeking a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, one must consider every rule and exception related to VA ratings.  Under the VA rating system, a veteran should be compensated for each service-connected disability.  However, there is one big exception.  VA cannot pay a veteran more than once for the same disability or same manifestation.  For example, Asthma and Sleep Apnea have nearly identical manifestations.  They both involve impairment of the airways, they share symptoms such as daytime fatigue, and they are under the same category in the Schedule of Ratings.  A veteran who is service connected for both will only receive a rating for one of them.  In that circumstance, VA must assign the higher of the 2 possible ratings.

Disability Help Group Case Study Sleep Apnea

The anti-pyramiding rule recently affected a DHG client.  He is a 64 year-old veteran of the Army who filed a claim for asthma and sleep apnea.  VA denied the sleep apnea claim, but granted the asthma claim at 30%.  After a successful appeal, VA granted 60% for his asthma.  Furthermore, the VA conceded that the criteria for sleep apnea was met and granted a 50% service-connected disability.  The VA, however, could not grant the additional 50% rating because of the anti-pyramiding rule.  Instead, VA awarded 60% for his “asthma with sleep apnea.”

Call Now for a Free Case Review,
1-800-800-3332 or Click Here

If you have more questions about getting a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, please call us.  We offer 100% free VA case review.

Related Articles and Blogs

Helpful Resources

Our website is also full of helpful information. Firstly, if you would like to review other blogs, click here. Secondly, if you would like to see a list of resources click here. And thirdly, you can click on Testimonials to read the great comments we receive.

Can I get TDIU for PTSD?

Can I get TDIU for PTSD?


Can I get TDIU for PTSD? Yes. TDIU is a special benefit for veterans who cannot support themselves due to service-connected disabilities.  It pays the same as a 100% rated disability.  For TDIU to apply, your PTSD must first be service-connected.  This may seem simple, but several veterans have PTSD because of a traumatic event that happened years after military service. Second, you cannot earn a living because of PTSD. 

TDIU for PTSD Requirements

In order to be granted TDIU for PTSD is does not mean the veteran has to be unemployed.  VA will grant TDIU to an employed veteran if the employment is considered marginal.  VA deems employment marginal if the veteran earns LESS than the federal poverty threshold for one person (in 2018, $12,784.00 per the U.S. Census Bureau).

Rating Percentage

The veteran must meet the percentage requirements.  If the veteran has only one service-connected disability, it must be rated 60% or higher.  The Schedule of Ratings for PTSD permits only the following ratings: 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% and 100%.

Services Connected Disabilities

If the veteran is only service-connected for PTSD, it must be rated no lower than 70% to get TDIU.  However, if the veteran has more than one service-connected disability, then at least one must be rated 40% or higher.  Also, there must be “sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating” to 70% or higher.

FREE CASE REVIEW, CLICK HERE, or Call 1-800-700-0652.

Disability Help Group Case Studies

Case Study 1: TDIU for PTSD

A 60 year-old veteran was diagnosed with PTSD secondary to his service-connected hypertension.  VA previously awarded 10% for his hypertension.  In March 2018, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denied his PTSD claim.  After a successful appeal, DHG secured a remand for a new VA medical examination.  In November 2019, VA granted service connection for PTSD at 70% effective September 2009.  Because the evidence showed that his PTSD prevented him from working, VA also granted entitlement to TDIU.  He received a lump sum of $340,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $133.57 to $3,057.13.

Case Study 2: TDIU for PTSD

A 65 year-old veteran asked VA for a higher rating for his PTSD.  At the time, he was service-connected for tension headaches at 50% and PTSD at 50%.  His combined rating was 80% and he had not worked since 2012.  After a successful appeal, VA granted TDIU back to 2012.  As a result, he received a lump sum of $121,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $1,556.13 to $3,057.13.

Case Study 3: TDIU for PTSD

A 65 year-old veteran had a 50% rating for anxiety with PTSD and a 10% rating for a lumbar spine condition.  Shortly after he hired Disability Help Group, it was clear that VA should have granted at least a 70% rating for anxiety with PTSD.  After a successful appeal, VA granted a 70% rating for PTSD and then granted TDIU.  He received a lump sum of $109,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $1,062.27 to $3,057.13.

While most of this article refers to PTSD, it also applies to other mental disorders.  For example, many of our clients have won TDIU based on their service-connected schizophrenia.

Related Articles and Blogs

Total Disability (TDIU) for PTSD