Disability, General

Social Security and the VA, Working Together for Our Heroes

March 7, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

silhouette of a soldier standing in front of the american flag and saluting,  Social Security honors those who have served in the U.S. military. We recognize the sacrifices these Americans made while serving our country. Often, their dedication comes at the expense of significant and lasting effects on themselves and their families.

Social Security provides expedited processing of disability benefit applications for wounded warriors and veterans with a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T).

While both Social Security and the VA pay disability benefits to qualifying individuals, the criteria for awarding benefits is not the same. Even if you have a VA compensation rating of 100% P&T, you will need to meet the strict definition of disability set out by the Social Security Act to receive Social Security disability benefits. Social Security pays benefits to people with a severe medical condition expected to last at least one year or to result in death, while preventing you from performing substantial work.

To receive expedited processing as a veteran rated 100% P&T, you must first apply for Social Security benefits. You can apply online or call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can also visit your local Social Security office to apply in person.

You must identify yourself as a “Veteran rated 100% P&T.” If you apply in person or over the phone, tell the Social Security representative that you are a veteran rated 100% P&T. If you apply online, enter “Veteran 100% P&T” in the “Remarks” section of the application. You must also provide Social Security with your Veterans Affairs notification letter that verifies your rating.

Social Security will expedite your claim through the application process, and any appeals level, if necessary. Veterans Affairs compensation will not affect your Social Security benefits.

We are grateful to our veterans for their dedication to this country, and we are committed to providing veterans and wounded warriors with high quality public service. For more information, please visit https://www.socialsecurity.gov/people/veterans/

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. ante K.

    I am Veteran and I believe that all Vets should be treated humanly, which in many instances’ have not. However that is another subject for another time.
    It seems to me that some people here are really bunch of “Hugs” they are getting two and three pensions and are asking’ can they apply for additional pensions even so they are getting SSI already from some sources, my pension “Only one” has being cu

  2. Ma. E.

    My husband has been rated as 100% total and permanent disabled since 2002. He is receiving VA disability benefit, retirement pension from DOD and sick leave pay from a private company. He applied for disability benefit from Social Security in 2002 but was denied. He has not worked since 2002. Can he still apply for social security disability benefit because the insurance company of the private employer wants to terminate his sick-leave pay already. My husband is 62 years old. Thank you for your help.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Ms. Genio. In addition to meeting our definition for disability, individuals must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Your husband must have earned the minimum required number of work credits within a specific period – ending with the time he became disabled. In addition, keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different than the requirements for other government programs including veterans benefits. Social Security pays only for total disability.
      Lastly, If your husband has enough retirement work credits , he can apply online for reduced Retirement Benefits at age 62. For specific questions, your husband may call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Or contact his local office directly.

      • Ma. E.

        Thank you so much for you reply. I have another question which pertains to me. My husband and I are married for 9 years. He has not petitioned me to become a US citizen because he already sold his house there when he went to the Philippines. I have no social security number. I am just wondering whether I will be able to receive benefits in the event that my husband passes away. If there are some benefits for me, what are they? Do I need social security number to qualify for the benefits? I have no intention of living in the US although I have a ten multiple entry visa. Please help me.

        • Ray F.

          Hello again Ms. Genio. If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). Generally, you need a Social Security number to collect Social Security benefits. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page to learn more about Social Security benefits and non-citizens. We recommend that individuals living outside the United Sates contact their local U.S. embassy or consulate for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Thanks.

  3. Robert G.

    I’m 69 years old retired and have been receiving s/s since I was 62. I also receive VA disability since 2009. My income is from S/S and the VA disability. I have not yet received any income tax return papers. I was told that I no longer have to file due to my age and only income is from S/S and VA disability. Is this correct?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Mr. Giglio, some people may have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income. Your question is an income tax question, and you will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. Also, you can create a my Social Security account to get a replacement form SSA-1099 showing the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in 2015. We hope this information helps.

      • Karen M.

        VA disability is NOT taxable and do NOT put it on ur FEDERAL income tax. It is not state taxable in Louisiana or Florida either.

  4. Manuel D.

    I’ve apply SSI Disability, it’s been over a year and half since I’ve applied, I have not heard anything about my appeal hearing. How long does it take to get a hearing date? Also, do you need a 100% rating from the VA? I’m in the process of my claim.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your questions, Manuel. Please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different than the requirements for other government programs including veterans benefits. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death.
      The length of time it takes to get a hearing can vary from state to state. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. The good news is that we are trying to conduct many of our hearings through video teleconferencing (VTC) to speed up the process. Visit our “Hearing And Appeals” web page for more information, and continue working with your local hearing office on specific questions about your case. Thanks !

  5. Thomas M.

    I tried to get SS disability 11 years ago and was denied because I had not paid SS in over 10 years. I was declared 100% disabled (VA) five years before I applied to SS. Have the rules changed?

    Thank you

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Thomas. In addition to meeting our definition for disability, individuals must also have enough “work credits”.
      This simply means that you must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Work Credits are the “building blocks” we use to find out whether an individual has the minimum amount of covered work to qualify for each type of Social Security benefits. For specific questions about your individual situation, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Thanks!

  6. Robert B.

    I was SSA disabled and have been getting great support from SSA. Thank you SSA. However not so the case with the VA. They have passed me around relentlessly! Is there a representative within SSA that helps preparation for VA benefits? I have tried several times and 2 of the VA reps have disappeared! Literally. Can anyone advise? I am in the Fredericksburg area.
    Many thanks.

    • Bill N.

      Go to your DAV Rep and have them reapply for you they are helping me a lot here in Louisiana

    • Joe

      The American Legion also have advocates available (at no cost) to assist veterans in filling out the application claim forms for a VA disability claim with in their system.

      They (the advocates) often have offices in the VA hospitals (provided by the VA) that are at your disposal at no cost. I had one at The Palo Alto VA Hospital in California assist me with my claim.

    • JJ J.

      Contact the DAV Disabled American Veterans. They will help you for free in fighting for veterans benefits. Dav.org.

  7. sandra w.

    this has nothing to do with blog 8months cant sign in did all tells me does not know me help

  8. John O.

    It would be nice to know if the expedited claims process for disabled veterans includes presumptive disability payments. Thanks for caring.

    • Big D.

      Yes, if you are rated as a Disabled Veteran 100% P&T, be sure to mark your SSDI application as such and it will be pushed to the front of the line… The turn around on my application was amazingly fast!

      • Bruce

        How fast

        • Karen M.

          Rules have changed for 2017 and SSA could give a damn if we are disabled vets

          • Carl

            Exactly Karen M I have been 100% P&T for 3 years and have been fighting for my SSI benefits since. It’s at the Supreme Court Level now and I hope the Judge there have more sympathy.

          • M

            I am widow of 100% service connect veteran who died due to service connected injuries,can I get SS benefits and Va widows pension??

          • Ray F.

            Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. However, Social Security benefits may affect benefits payable under the VA – Veterans Benefit Administration. We recommend that you contact the VA or your military advisor, for an explanation of its income limitations, prior to applying for Social Security benefits. We hope this information helps.

      • khayyam A.

        This is utter BULLSHIT!!!! Social Security cares absolutely NOTHING about veterans who have fought and suffered for this country. You should be ashamed of yourselves smh..

  9. eduardo j.

    I have not received my January check for Social Security Disability.

    • John O.

      This is not an appropriate site to tell the world that you are missing a payment. Contact SS and folks never publish your SSN and name for all to see and possibly steal your identity.

      • Joe F.

        Who are you to decide what is “appropriate”. It’s a public comment section and I don’t care what your position in the new aristocracy is. I am glad I heard this can happen. Perhaps if you came down off your high horse and just explained that this section was not set up to deal with it but..and gave the excellent advice you did about how to handle it you would accomplish your objective without sounding like you are scolding a child. People on SSA are often desperate and scared, especially with this hostile new administration. But they aren’t children.

    • Ray F.

      For security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please contact your local office or call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also, remember, never post personal information on social media. Thanks!

  10. paula r.

    I receive social security re my late ex-husband but I recently found out that he did serve in the army and I now have some details about that. Can I apply for the social security benefit for his army service as well? thank you very much. Paula Rich,

    • John O.

      Social Security tax, FICA), that is taken out of military pay is no different that the tax taken from any other employer except for credits from years ago. If you applied on your ex’s record you are already getting benefits from what he contributed to the SSA system.

      • Usmc

        The va has decided to appoint a fiduciary and they are also trying to control my social security check too. Is this normal?

        • Ray F.

          Sometimes a beneficiary may need help managing their Social Security benefits. The Social Security’s Representative Payment Program helps beneficiaries who need assistance in managing their benefits. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to discuss your concerns with one of our agents. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

        • Ann W.

          can the VA Hospital have withholdings taken from my Social Security Check?

          • Ray F.

            Hi Ann. For general information or specific questions about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and benefits, please contact the VA telephone line at 1-844-698-2311. You will hear a menu of options that you can select from to route you to the right place depending on your inquiry. Thanks!

        • Joe F.

          The VA and Social Security have worked hand in glove for years to suck money out of Veterans SSA checks and control as much of that money as possible. The administrators, desperate to justify their jobs and control a shrinking pie can only be expected to victimize veterans further, all for 3rd world medical care. And they will wind up taking money out of your check to administer it. Goodbye freedom you fought for. If you can get away from the VA do it before they decide to put you in a home “for your own good” where you will be fed very little USDA rejected food, given no medical care, and the air is heavy with the odor of rotting feces, wounds, and prayers for death. Fight to keep that money even if you have to leave your state or country to do it.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Paula. Social Security and the U.S. Armed Forces provide separate benefits. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits if you receive benefits from the military. To see if you qualify for benefits on your ex-husband’s military record contact the Department of Defense or the legal assistance office at your nearest military installation. Thanks!

    • Teena C.

      Apply for his Va benifits thru Veternadminstration.gov

    • Vinnie

      so it is a constant continuous sound, even if [“eerie” and not inteemittrnt church bells ]you are looking for, thus inducing an emotional reaction, yes it is a good ideabut i wouldn’t like to hear car horns blasting though, that is more irritable than the sadness or fear,

    • Latoya

    • Luella

    • Kourtney

    • Christy

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