Disability, General

Social Security and Veterans Affairs Partnership Speeds Disability Decisions for Veterans

November 9, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

vaSocial Security is with you throughout life’s journey. For the millions of individuals we help each day — including Veterans, widows and widowers, retirees, and people with disabilities — our priority is to help you secure today and tomorrow. In our efforts to improve the quality of service we provide to Veterans, we’re proud to announce our partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to use health IT to help Veterans and their families.

This partnership between Social Security and the VA allows for the expedited processing of disability cases. It enables us to receive medical records electronically from the VA through the eHealth Exchange.  This process saves time and money for both partners and allows Social Security to make decisions faster for Veterans and their dependents who apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Medical documentation is essential to making a disability determination. Before using this new capability, we obtained medical records through a manual process. When eligible Veterans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, it might have taken weeks or months for Social Security to receive paper records from the VA. This new partnership lets Social Security obtain the VA Veterans’ health information electronically within minutes. Through this new national initiative, we can obtain Veterans’ medical records electronically without human intervention. It’s easy, convenient and secure, just the way we like it.

Currently, Social Security can receive electronic health records from over 50 other health IT partners and the Department of Defense in about 7,000 facilities across the United States.  Our goal is to continue expanding our network of healthcare organizations and federal agencies that provide electronic health records to us within a safe and secure environment so that we can secure today and tomorrow faster for our Veterans.

To learn more about the health IT initiative, please visit our website at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/hit/.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Eddie C.

    Please review Social security Disability Veteran retirement SS#*** – ** – ***

  2. Wendall I.

    I was hospitalized in Jan of 2019 for pneumonia .I have a 70% disability from the VA.The hospital billed Medicare first and then the VA.I receive 100% hospital care from the VA for emergency purposes.I was told that the hospital could not bill 2 government agencies .So Medicare only paid about 80% .If the Va would have been billed I would have my bill paid 100%.Why is there such a rule?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Wendall. Thank you for your question. You should contact the Department of Defense or a military health, or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits advisor for more information. Please visit the TRICARE web page or contact your military health benefits advisor for more information. You should also call the Medicare toll-free number, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). We hope this information helps.

  3. Betty B.

    Is PTSDMST considered a disability through Social Security?

    Betty Byers

  4. Greg C.

    I have a non connected service VA pension, I Am a 66 year old man this is my only income and I am thankful. I had appointment today with the DAV and the officer mention the poverty income level is about $1800.00 dollars per month.
    Am I eligible for social security with my VA pension to meet the poverty level income? I receive $1075.00 per month as a single vet. Thank you in advance for any counseling on this subject.

  5. George R.

    With the Electronic access to VA medical records, why am I being told my SSDI claim is on hold pending receipt of medical records from the VA? It seems that the state DDS office does not have this access as proclaimed in the press release.

    • Roberto C.

      One thing you CAN DO NOW is DOWNLOAD and PRINT your VA Medical Record. Then with your Medical Record IN HAND, give it to the SAME SSA Rep that is taking your Disability Application! That way NO MIDDLEMAN OR EXCUSES from SSA!!

  6. William E.

    I need to apply for Disability and I can’t remember my info already given. I am retired and was in the USCG and are a veteran.

    • Ray F.

      Hi William. We may ask you to complete forms, provide documents and medical information to apply for Disability Benefits. You should not delay applying just because you do not have certain documents or lack medical reports. We will help you get them. If you think you are disabled, you can apply for disability online. Please remember that 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. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday if you need further assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  7. Jim J.


  8. Belinda D.

    My ex died recently, we were married 10 years am I eligible for any type of widow benefits?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Belinda. If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, you could get benefits just the same as a widow or widower, provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. See “If You’re the Worker’s Surviving Divorced Spouse” for more information. If you have specific questions, you can call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Hope this helps!

  9. Orry S.

    Help us get treated better at all VA hospitals. You get treated so badly by the police/ security officers that works for the VA Hospital in Atlanta/ Decatur, GA the headquarters there. Instead of listening to you when you have been harassed they tired to throw their power of being a police officer/security around. Talk to you like you 3 yrs old. How can they treat a person like that , when you have served to protect your country. We are not dogs we are human beings/people who gave our lives for our country. There is no good system there you wait in long lines for hours and paper work after paper work gets put off for months. When will all of this change or is it. Please clean up the system and make it better for all Vets every where.

  10. Dennis L.

    Sorry for the typo ‘s main ones it was DaNang air base. My keyboard seems to have a mind of its own. If you all would do the research you will see that agent orange was used to Spray the DMZ during the Korean War. Sprayed several bases in the United States. And sprayed Guam also during the Vietnam War. So I provided proof I was in Guam 1965-also in Vietnam in Spring &summer of 1965. And even transported agent orange from the US to Guam where it was stored. There is also proof of the storage on Guam via a special investigation conducted by DOD. The storage on Guam contaminated the water supply for Guam. I even supplied photos while in Vietnam and tracked down a fellow airman that is buried in Odessa. Texas with a headstone that plainly says Vietnam. Check my file it is all there. Like I said I know where I was and I would like closure on this matter before I die. I wish the medical side of the VA would talk with the admin. Side as the medical side is the ones that conducted all the test and told me to file a claim for exposure to agent orange.

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