Recently I posted a blog about a practice I referred to as “Double Dipping.” It’s what happens when you try to get the VA to service connect you for something that you have filed for on Workers Compensation. In other words if you filed a workers compensation claim on your back, and then try to file a VA Disability Claim on your back, one will negate the other. The reason is that you are trying to get the government to pay you for an injury that occurred at both places. In the VA’s eyes, it has to be one or the other. The reason for this is that one is for injured workers; the other is for injured Veterans. Why am I repeating myself? Well, one of my wonderful readers brought up a great question: “Does double dipping apply to VA Disability and Social Security?” The answer is no, but with a maybe.
How is it no? Well, that is actually quite simple. VA disability is trying to prove if your disability is a result from your time in service. Social Security wants to know if you are disabled. They are not necessarily concerned with where your disability occurred. So, if you get injured in in the military, and this disability also keeps you from working, you may be entitled to both programs. Even if you are 100% in the VA, you can still get social security disability.
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Let’s say that you injured your back in service, but were still able to work a regular job once you are discharged. You then go on to have an injury to your arm that keeps you from working. If you were only getting 40% service connected for your back through the VA, it will likely continue. You may however be considered fully disabled through the Social Security Administration. In fact if your arm injury occurred while on the job, you may be eligible for Social Security and Workers Compensation while still receiving your VA Disability. How? It’s simple. Your VA Disability had nothing to do with the injury that occurred while you working, that stays the same. If you were injured on the job with an injury that has left you disabled, then you would be entitled to both Social Security and Workers Compensation.
How is there a “maybe?” This is where things get a little convoluted. As you may already know, both Social Security and VA offer income based programs. SSI is for Social Security, and Pension is the program for the VA. Since these programs are both income based, any new income may affect the programs. For instance, if you were receiving pension, and then were later granted social security disability, your pension would be adjusted, possibly negated completely. The same could apply to SSI if you are granted VA Disability. While this is not actually considered a “double dip,” they do affect each other.
Are you confused yet? I know I became confused a couple of times and even had to consult one of my coworkers who handles social security claims a few times for information. I work with VA every day, and even I struggled with the guidelines. Imagine if you were doing this with no knowledge of any of the programs. It would be tough. A little guidance goes a long way. If you need help with either VA, or Social Security, give us a call for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t make it to a phone at the time, fill out this form so that we can call you at a more convenient time.