15 Feb Expedited SSDI Claims for Veterans
Some disabled veterans who qualify for Social Security disability benefits may be eligible to have their claim expedited.
SSDI for Veterans
Veterans who earn VA disability compensation may also qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). If you are a veteran with a 100% P&T rating, or considered a “Wounded Warrior”, you could have your SSDI claim expedited.
Veterans who served on or after October 1st, 2001, and became disabled during this time, are considered “Wounded Warriors” by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The disability does not need to be combat related but it must have occurred during active duty.
100% P&T Rating
If you are a veteran with service connected injuries that the VA considers Permanently and Totally disabling, you receive a 100% P&T rating.
If you fall into either of these two categories you may qualify to have your SSDI expedited. However, you must first meet the SSDI qualification requirements.
SSDI Qualification Requirements
The SSA requires that all applicants, including VA disability recipients, meet their SSDI requirements to receive benefits. The requirements are:
1. You must have a condition that Social Security finds disabling.
The SSA keeps a list of mental and physical conditions that they consider to be disabilities. This list is called the Blue Book. You must have a disability that is listed, or equals a listing, in their Blue Book.
2. You must meet the SSA’s definition of disability
To meet the SSA’s definition, you must not only have a condition that is listed in their Blue Book, but this condition must keep you out of work for at least 12 months. Your disability must not only enable you from performing the work you did prior to becoming disabled, it must keep you from performing any sort of work.
The SSA defines disability differently than the VA does. Often veterans believe that if they are considered disabled by the VA then they will automatically meet the SSA’s definition, however this is a misconception.
3. You must be earning less than the SGA limit
The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for 2022 is $1,350. In order to qualify for SSDI you must make less than this amount per month. The SGA only counts “earned income”, meaning income you made by working. Any VA disability compensation does not count as earned income and would not interfere with your SSDI eligibility.
4. You must have the required amount of work credits
You must have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years in order to receive SSDI. The work you did must have also have paid into Social Security funds through federal payroll tax.
If you do meet all of the qualifications for SSDI and decide to file a claim, there are steps you should take to ensure that your claim is expedited.
Getting Your Claim Expedited
Typically, if you meet the qualifications for an expedited claim, you do not need to request it. The SSA should flag your application when they notice you are 100% P&T or a Wounded Warrior. However, the SSA recommends that you make a note of it regardless. Since the SSA is a large agency, and having your claim expedited can make a difference in the application timeline, you will want to ensure that your case is properly handled.
How Much Faster is an Expedited SSDI Claim
The SSA treats expedited SSDI claims as high priority. This means that when they receive your claim and see that you are either 100% P&T or a Wounded Warrior, they will rush your application through the process.
While there is no exact timeline for an expedited claim, being high priority means the SSA will process much faster than a regular claim. A typical SSDI claim can take the SSA anywhere from three to five months to process.
An expedited claim will also carry over to appeals and reconsiderations. If Social Security denies your initial application, your claim will continue through the appeals process as high priority. This can decrease the amount of time it takes you to win benefits significantly.
Starting Your SSDI Claim
Claiming Social Security disability benefits can be confusing and time consuming. Veterans who already earn VA disability compensation know the struggle of claiming benefits, and may not want to go through the process again.
To make the process easier, many often hire legal representation. In fact, the SSA has even reported that the likelihood of winning a SSDI claim increases if you have a lawyer.
Victory Disability is a nationwide law firm. We specialize in helping disabled veterans get the benefits that they have earned and deserve. Our team has helped hundreds of veterans receive extra benefits, to see if we can assist you take our free evaluation here.