Getting a Fully Favorable Decision from Social Security which awards you disability benefits does not require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to approve your claim, but it may help.  This is particularly true if you have a claim pending with the VA for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability.

it is important to understand that the two systems are different.  The VA determines disability on a percentage based system, meaning you may be awarded a disability rating anywhere from 0% to 100% in 10% increments.  Social Security’s system is all or nothing — either you are disabled or you are not disabled.

Despite their differences, in some circumstances, you can use a disability determination to help receive a second favorable determination.  For example, I mentioned Individual Unemployability (also called TDIU) above.  If you are making a claim for TDIU with the VA, you are claiming that you cannot work in a gainful occupation.  This is very similar to what you have to prove in a Social Security claim.  It does not work the other way as easily.  You can receive a 100% VA rating, for a particular condition, but still be able to work.  In the end, the VA and Social Security are two completely separate entities that make independent decisions with their own way of deciding such.

Disability benefits can be obtained from both Social Security and the VA if a person meets both the VA and Social Security’s requirements.  Keep in mind that some of your benefits may be taxable if you receive benefits exceeding $25,000 in a year.

Copyright 2011.  John Tucker.  All Rights Reserved.