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.

How Receiving Social Security Disability Can Help You Get VA 100%

How Receiving Social Security Disability Can Help You Get VA 100%

How Receiving Social Security Disability Can Help You Get VA 100%. Receiving Social Security disability can help you get a 100% VA rating.  However, receiving Social Security disability doesn’t guarantee a 100% VA rating.  It can be used as powerful evidence for your VA claim.  Although, these decisions only help if you can show your conditions are service-connected. 

VA disability benefits

VA disability benefits require that you meet certain conditions.  You must have a current diagnosis.  That diagnosis must be service-connected.  You must also show a medical nexus or connection between your diagnosis and in-service incurrence.  The VA considers your disability service-connected if your medical condition:

  • Firstly, Was directly caused by military service
  • Secondly, Occurred while in the military
  • Thirdly, Was aggravated by military service or
  • Finally, Caused by conditions that are service-connected

VA disability rating and TDUI

Disability ratings range from 10% to 100%.  Next, it can be hard to earn a 100% disability rating when you have more than one disability.  Fortunately, the VA provides an alternate route to total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDUI).  The VA considers your ability not only get a job but also to keep a job.  You meet the conditions for a TDUI rating if your disabilities prevent you from working and:

  • You have a single service-connected rating or have a combined disability rating of 70%

Social Security disability helps establish a current diagnosis

Firstly, SSDI looks at your medically determinable impairments (MDI).  Secondly, Social Security considers any condition that has an impact on functioning as an MDI.  Thirdly, a Social Security hearing decision includes a list of your disabilities.  Therefore, your Social Security approval helps determine your diagnoses. Receiving Social Security Disability Can Help You Get VA 100%. Call Now for a Free Case Review.

Social Security disability helps establish service-connection

Frequently, applicants for Social Security disability have to testify at a disability hearing.  During the hearing, the judge asks a lot of questions about your disabilities.  Often, applicants provide detailed explanations about their conditions.  They also explain when conditions started.  A Social Security hearing decision includes a summary of testimony.  Therefore, your Social Security hearing decision helps establish service-connection. 

Example:  Social Security hearing decision helps establish service-connection

Likewise, a veteran applied for disability benefits for PTSD.  During the hearing, he testified that he witnessed a young girl get hit by a vehicle while on patrol during his service.  He also testified that since his service, he started blacking out and became violent.  He testified that he didn’t sleep well, had significant paranoia and was very depressed.  The judge’s decision included the veteran’s testimony, helping to establish that his PTSD was connected to his service. 

Social Security disability helps establish severity

Social Security has a difficult standard to meet for eligibility.  You must show that your medical conditions prevent you from working in any job.  A judge’s decision must explain why a case meets the requirements for disability.  The decision includes specific reasons how significantly medical conditions impact a person’s functioning.  Therefore, a Social Security disability decision can help explain how severe your conditions are. 

Example:  Social Security hearing decision helps establish severity

Hence, a veteran applied for Social Security disability due to a lower back impairment, depression and anxiety.  During the hearing, the veteran testified that he injured his back during his service.  He could no longer perform his duties as a postal worker.  As a result of his chronic pain and limitations, he developed significant depression and anxiety symptoms, requiring medication and therapy.

In his hearing decision, the judge explained that his lower back condition caused significant limitations with standing, walking and sitting.  The judge also explained that his depression and anxiety symptoms caused significant problems concentrating.  The veteran provided the VA a copy of the decision, which helped him qualify for TDUI. 

Example:  Social Security hearing decision helps establish severity

For instance, a veteran applied for Social Security disability due to a traumatic brain injury.  He suffered from episodes of aggression, poor memory and difficulty getting along with others.  In his hearing decision, the judge referred to evidence in his record documenting that he needed a lot of help with his daily activities.  Specifically, he needed help with medication management and reminders to take care of his personal hygiene. 

His mother took him to all of his medical appointments and helped manage his bills.  His medical records documented that he could become very aggressive often.  The Social Security judge determined that the veteran would not be capable of maintaining any job.  The decision helped increase the veteran’s VA disability rating. 

Getting help with your Social Security and VA disability claims

Both Social Security and VA have complicated application processes.  The process can be even tougher when Social Security or the VA issues a decision that completely ignores the evidence.  Working with an experienced advocate helps increase your chances of getting approved.  They know how to turn a loss into a win.  An experienced advocate can analyze your case and help you receive maximum benefits.  It helps to have knowledgeable experts on your side. 

Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your SSDI and VA disability claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Can a Veteran Receive Both VA and Social Security Benefits?

Can a Veteran Receive Both VA and Social Security Benefits?

Can a Veteran Receive Both VA and Social Security Benefits? Veterans can qualify for both VA and Social Security benefits.  Frequently, veterans apply for both VA and Social Security benefits.  However, VA and Social Security benefits have different requirements. 

VA benefits for veterans

VA benefits or service-connected disability, have specific requirements.  You must show that your disabling condition was “incurred or aggravated by your military service.”  You will not qualify for VA benefits if you have a dishonorable discharge.  You can receive partial disability benefits from the VA.  VA disability compensation rates range from 10-100%, in 10% increments. 

Social Security benefits

Social Security has two types of benefits, disability insurance benefits (SSDI) and supplemental security income benefits (SSI).  Under SSDI, you must have worked and earned at least 20 work credits.  Generally, this means you must have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years.  Under SSI, you do not need any work credits.  However, you must meet certain financial requirements.  You must show that your medical conditions keep you from working for at least 12 months.  Unlike VA benefits, Social Security doesn’t offer partial disability. 

Applying for both VA and Social Security benefits

If you get approved for one benefit, it doesn’t increase your chances for getting approved for the other.  Social Security and the VA follow different rules.  However, Social Security considers medical evidence from the VA.  Similarly, the VA considers your Social Security records. 

Expedited processing for veterans

Fortunately, Social Security can fast-track certain cases for veterans.  Social Security expedites processing for veterans with a 100% VA rating.  You should identify as a “Veteran rated 100% P&T” when filing your application.  You should also include your VA rating notification letter.  Additionally, Social Security fast-tracks case for Wounded Warriors.  You should tell Social Security that your injuries happened while on active duty.  

Application process for VA benefits

Both the VA and Social Security reviews medical records.  The VA uses military doctors and other health personnel to evaluate your disability claim.  The VA may ask you to attend a claim exam, known as a C&P exam.  This exam helps the VA rate your disability.  Additionally, the VA assigns a disabling rate to each of your conditions.  These rates determine your Total Combined VA disability rating.  The VA uses this rating to figure out the amount of your benefits.

Application process for Social Security benefits

Unlike the VA, Social Security doesn’t rate your conditions separately.  Social Security looks at how the combination of your conditions impacts your functioning.  First, they consider if any of your conditions meet certain conditions under their listing of impairments, known as the “Blue Book”.  Most conditions will not meet these strict requirements.  Next, Social Security considers your residual functional capacity or RFC.  Your RFC includes both physical and mental limitations.  If Social Security determines that your conditions keep you from working, they will approve your disability claim.  Like the VA, Social Security may ask you to attend a medical exam to help evaluate your claim. 

Disabled veterans and your age

Social Security has special disability rules the older you are.  They look at a chart known as the Medical-Vocational guidelines to evaluate your claim called the “grid rules.”  The grid rules make it easier for older people to win their case.  Social Security considers your age, education and work background.  The older you are, the easier it can be to win your case. 

How much can I get from VA and Social Security benefits?

As discussed, the VA calculates your payments based on your Total Combined VA disability rating.  Social Security uses a complicated formula based on the amount of earnings you paid taxes on.  Therefore, everyone’s amount is different.  VA benefits will not affect your SSDI payments.  In other words, you can receive both payments in full.  Unfortunately, any VA benefits will reduce your SSI payments. 

VA and Social Security medical benefits

Veterans receiving VA disability automatically receive TRICARE benefits, which cover health costs found “medically necessary” for your condition.  SSDI recipients qualify for Medicare benefits which start two years after Social Security finds you disabled.  Medicare covers a variety of medical costs, usually regardless of a specific condition.  SSI recipients receive Medicaid benefits.  If you receive both TRICARE and Medicare, Medicare becomes your primary insurance.  However, if you receive both TRICARE and Medicaid, TRICARE becomes your primary insurance. 

Can a veteran work and receive both VA and Social Security benefits?

If you are working, you may not qualify for Social Security disability.  Social Security considers work earnings over a certain amount “substantial gainful activity” or SGA and if you earn over the SGA limit, you will not qualify for Social Security disability.  For 2021, SGA is earnings $1,310 per month or more (before taxes).  You can still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you earn less than SGA.  However, any work may make it harder for Social Security to approve your claim.  Unlike Social Security, veterans can work while receiving VA disability benefits unless you receive Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU.)   

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Can a Veteran Receive both VA and SSDI?

Can a Veteran Receive both VA and SSDI?

Disabled veterans can receive both VA and SSDI benefits.  In fact, it is common for veterans to apply for both SSDI and VA disability benefits.  However, some veterans receive VA disability benefits before applying for SSDI.  

What is SSDI?

Social Security disability insurance benefits or SSDI require that you have worked and earned enough work credits.  You receive work credits each year that you work and pay taxes.  Generally, you need to earn a total of 20 work credits to qualify for SSDI.  Additionally, you must meet a recent work test.  Like other insurance programs, SSDI coverage ends after a certain amount of time from when you stop working.  SSDI also requires that your medical conditions keep you from working for at least 12 months. Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI.

What is the difference between VA and SSDI?

Social Security doesn’t offer partial disability benefits.  Your medical conditions must prevent you from working on a full-time basis.  Unlike SSDI, VA disability benefits don’t require total disability.  Veterans receive compensation rates based on the degree of your disability.  The compensation rates range from 10-100%, in 10% increments.  Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI.

SSDI expedited processing for veterans to receive both VA and SSDI.

Veterans may qualify for expedited processing for Social Security disability claims.  You may receive expedited processing under:

  • 100% Permanent and Total Veterans Initiative – you should identify yourself as a “Veteran rated 100% P&T” when filing your SSDI or SSI application.  You also should provide the VA rating notification letter to Social Security
  • Wounded Warriors – if you received disabling mental or physical health injuries while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, you are eligible for SSDI or SSI expedited application processing.  You don’t need to have been injured during combat operations.  You should tell Social Security that your injury occurred while on active duty.  

What are the medical requirements for SSDI?

First, Social Security considers whether your medical conditions fall under their listing of impairments, known as the Blue Book.  Typically, the Blue Book requires that your medical conditions meet very specific requirements.  If you don’t meet the listings, Social Security considers your residual functional capacity or RFC.  An RFC includes both physical and mental limitations.  Social Security looks at your medical evidence to determine your RFC.  They can also consider the opinions of your doctors.  Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI.

What medical evidence do veterans need for SSDI?

Your medical evidence should include records only for the period of time that you became disabled and unable to work.  Your treatment should also be continuous and ongoing.  The VA and Department of Defense (DOD) share medical records electronically with Social Security.  Social Security also considers any treatment veterans receive from civilian doctors.  Medical evidence can include:

  • Treatment notes and physical examinations
  • Imaging such as MRIs, x-rays, CT scans or nerve testing
  • Blood work or biopsy results
  • Pulmonary tests
  • Mental health records

SSDI “Grid Rules” 

Social Security has special disability rules the older you are.  They look at a chart known as the Medical-Vocational guidelines to evaluate your claim called the “grid rules.”  The grid rules make it easier for older people to win their case.  Social Security considers your age, education and work background.  The older you are, the easier it can be to win your case.  Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI.

Example 1:  applying the grid rules for veterans over age 50

For example, John, a 53 year old veteran, applied for disability due to arthritis in his knees.  John underwent a total knee replacement but continued to have pain and swelling in both knees.  He previously worked in a factory.  John received most of his treatment at the VA hospital.  His medical records included MRIs and x-rays of his knees.  His doctors also documented that he required the use of a cane due to his symptoms.  Social Security found that he could not return to work in the factory.  Since he is over the age of 50, the grid rules allow Social Security to approve his claim.

Example 2:  applying the grid rules for veterans over age 55

As another example, Chris, a 58 year old veteran, applied for disability due to a right shoulder impairment and degenerative disc disease in his spine.  Chris previously worked as a truck driver.  However, he was unable to load and unload the trucks due to his pain symptoms.  Chris received treatment from both the VA hospital and civilian doctors.  His medical records documented his pain symptoms and limited motion in his shoulder and back.  Social Security found that he could not return to work as a truck driver.  Since Chris is over the age of 55 and he could not return to his past work, Social Security approved his claim.  

Working disabled veterans can receive both VA and SSDI.

If you are currently working, you may not qualify for SSDI.  Social Security considers work earnings over a certain amount “substantial gainful activity” or SGA.  If you earn over the SGA limit, you will not qualify for SSDI.  In 2020, earnings S1, 260 per month or (before taxes) are considered SGA. Although, if you are working part-time and earning less than SGA, you may still qualify for SSDI.  However, any work may make it harder for Social Security to approve your claim.  Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI

Does active duty affect eligibility for SSDI?

Active duty status or receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily keep you from receiving SSDI.  Social Security evaluates your work activity to figure out your eligibility.  You can apply while in a rehabilitation program or attending outpatient programs.  It doesn’t matter whether your treatment is in a VA hospital or civilian facility.   If you are on limited duty or working in a designated therapy program, you should definitely apply for SSDI.  

Does getting approved for Veterans VA benefits help receive SSDI?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.  The VA and Social Security have completely separate processes and requirements for approving claims.   However, Social Security will consider any evidence the VA used when looking at your claim.  Similarly, the VA is required to consider Social Security records.  Call us now if you are a Veteran and Want to Receive both VA and SSDI

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.