Few Disabled Veterans Taking Advantage of Social Security Disability Benefits

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The Congressional Budget Office(CBO) reports only 15% of those receiving veterans’ disability are also getting Social Security disability benefits.

The Congressional Budget Office reports only 15% of those receiving veterans’ disability are also getting Social Security disability benefits.

In a recent statement made to the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission, Allison Percy, principal analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, reported only “15% of veterans who are receiving VA disability compensation also receive payments from SSDI.”

Federal law grants disability payments through the Social Security Act on top of veterans disability benefits. Disabled veterans are the only group of individuals who are permitted to receive SSA disability in addition to Veterans Administration disability benefits.

Ms. Percy pointed out that neither the 15% figure, nor any other data available, indicates “the extent to which Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments are received by veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 100 percent or by those with lower-rated service-connected disabilities who also have additional disabilities unrelated to their military service, or the likelihood that veterans will receive both types of payments depending on the type of disability.”

In response to the latter, Frederick Johnson, author of “How To Apply For & Win Social Security Disability Benefits,” says, “At least in the 9th Circuit, the Administration has made note of the similarity of the standards of judgment for disability for both veterans and SSDI claimants by ruling that those who have been awarded disability by the Veterans Administration, should also be granted SSDI.”

As to the other questions, Ms. Percy invited the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission to provide the answers. “The research that the commission is undertaking now has the potential to provide far better information about the role that SSDI plays in providing income support for some disabled veterans. The [CBO] agency takes as a premise that the clearest view of any policy question can best be found by seeking accurate and unbiased data sources and by examining those data in an objective manner. Consequently, CBO sees only advantages to learning more about the degree to which the totality of federal benefits (including SSDI payments) enables veterans with service-connected disabilities to have a standard of living comparable to that of other veterans.”

“If the comments I’ve heard from vets is any indication, the military branches do a very poor job of letting disabled veterans know about the SSDI program,” Mr. Johnson added.

The Veterans Disability Benefits Commission was established in 2004 with the purpose of studying the federal benefits available to disabled veterans and the survivors of fallen veterans. The commission’s 13 members are appointed by the President and Congress, but it is independent of any government agency, and welcomes comments from the public.

Reportedly, the Commission is most interested in finding out how well benefit programs are meeting adequate standards of living for those who are not able to be rehabilitated. It has denied it is interested in cutting benefits. The Commission’s Web site has details about the time and location of its town meetings planned around the U.S.

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Frederick Johnson
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