Just as Social Security has both a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The Veterans Administration (VA) has two programs as well. They are VA disability compensation and VA pension. Can you file from both entities you ask, yes! We will go over that and what programs can go together. As well as some of the differences between the programs that warrant mentioning.
Service-connected VA disability benefits or VA disability compensation as it is also called, is not an income base program. So it would be similar to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program which is based on work credits (monies that you paid in while employed). So then it follows, that non- service connected VA benefits also known as VA pension is income based and would be along the same lines as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program of Social Security. If eligible, the best case scenario would be to qualify for SSDI and VA disability compensation as this give you the greatest monetary outcome.
Some of the differences between the two are that for the VA there are percentages of disability, where Social Security has an either you are or are not disabled approach. One of the major differences is the “treating physician rule.” Under Social Security law, once the claimant’s doctor is recognized as the treating physician, his or her medical opinion is given more weight and can be the difference between winning and losing your disability case. Whereas, under VA law the doctor’s opinion is not given more weight but instead equal weight with the rest of the evidence in the file. So under VA law, your disability is decided upon the totality of your file.
So as you can see, you would be able to file for both a VA disability benefit and a Social Security disability benefit at the same time. Along with some of the similarities and differences between the two providing entities. I would like to leave you with this thought. If you are wondering if there is a way to have better odds for success, then read on. If you have been given a high (70% or higher) VA rating, you are more likely to also be successful on your Social Security claim. Also while the VA only considers service-connected disabilities, Social Security will consider all disabilities service-connected or not. Unfortunately, if you are found disabled by Social Security first, it will not be given much weight toward your VA claim for disability.