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Veterans: Are you eligible for social security benefits?

Published on February 10th, 2022

Social Security Benefits for Veterans

Has a medical condition affected your military service? Did you receive a letter that says you may be eligible for social security benefits? If so, this is good news! However, the process won’t be smooth. You need to see a doctor and provide evidence that you were in the line of duty while serving our country. Worry not, though; I will guide you and give you some tips on proceeding.

Aside from eligibility and benefits, do you want to know how retirement benefits work? What about when can you get your Social Security benefits? Is your family member eligible for Social Security Benefits? Here are the answers from our veterans social security lawyers. Enjoy reading!

What is social security benefits?

Qualifying retirees and handicapped persons and their spouses, children, and survivors are entitled to Social Security payments.

Social Security—officially known in the United States as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program—is a comprehensive government benefits program meant to offer partial income replacement for retirees and their spouses, those whose spouse or eligible ex-spouse has died, and the disabled.

It also helps the children of recipients under certain situations.

How Retirement Benefits Function

Social Security Benefits replaces a part of your pre-retirement income depending on your career earnings. The share of your pre-retirement earnings that Social Security replaces is based on your top 35 years of earnings and fluctuates depending on how much you earn and when you opt to begin benefits.

While working, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money is used to provide benefits to:

  • People who have already retired.
  • Disabled people.
  • Survivors of deceased employees.
  • Beneficiary dependents

The amount you pay in taxes is not maintained in a personal account for you to utilize when you get benefits. Your taxes are used in paying those who are receiving benefits right now. Any leftover funds are transferred to the Social Security trust fund, which provides monthly payments to you and your family when you begin collecting retirement benefits.

Am I qualified for Social Security Benefits?

If you satisfy these qualifications, you may be eligible for the Veterans Pension program.

Both of the following must be true:

  • You did not suffer a dishonourable discharge, and your annual family income and net worth are within Congress-mandated restrictions. Your net worth is the totality of all personal property you possess (excluding your home, vehicle, and most home furnishings) less any debt you owe. Your net worth includes your spouse’s net wealth.

Additionally, your service must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You began active service before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days of active service, along with at least one day during a period of war.
  • You began active service as an enlisted person on or after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months, or the entire term for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with limited exceptions), with at least one day during wartime.
  • You were an officer who began active service after October 16, 1981 and had not been on active duty in the preceding 24 months.

And at least one of the following must be true:

  • you must be a minimum of 65 years old
  • have a permanent and complete disability
  • reside in a nursing facility for long-term care due to a disability
  • receives SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)
  • receives Supplemental Security Income

What if I was discharged for dishonourable or bad behaviour?

If your handicap prohibits you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits regardless of the kind of discharge you received from the military. In contrast to the VA, a bad discharge does not preclude you from getting benefits.

When Can a Military Member File for Social Security Benefits?

Applicants do not need to be retired or separated to apply for benefits. An actively serving military member, regardless of hospitalization status, may apply at any time. The service person or veteran may apply while undergoing rehabilitation, attending outpatient programs, or receiving treatment in a military hospital or civilian institution.

When do you get your Social Security benefits?

Social Security payouts are paid out monthly. The benefits are paid in the month succeeding the month for which they are due. For example, you would get your July benefit in August. In general, the day of the month you get your benefit payment is determined by the birth date of the individual whose earnings record you are receiving benefits for.

For example, if you get benefits as a retired worker, your benefit payment date is based on your birth date. If you get benefits based on your spouse’s job, your benefit payment is based date on your spouse’s birth date.

Is a Veteran’s Family Member Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

According to the SSA website, “some members of your family may qualify for benefits depending on your job.” Among these familial relatives are (but not limited to):

  • A spouse who is 62 years of age or older
  • A wife or husband of any age who is caring for the applicant’s child. The youngster must be either under the age of 16 or handicapped.
  • A child who is not married, an adopted child, or, in rare situations, a stepchild or grandchildren who are under the age of 18 (or younger than age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time).
  • An unmarried child aged 18 or older with a disability before the age of 22

Can I get both Social Security and VA disability benefits?

Yes, disabled military veterans may get both SSA and VA disability payments simultaneously. Many do. According to the latest current figures, almost 950,000 veterans got SSDI in 2016.

Veterans’ disability benefits do not automatically entitle you to SSDI, and vice versa. A 100 per cent permanent and total (P&T) disability rating from the VA may speed up the SSDI application process.

Do you need help?

As a veteran of South Portland, Maine, do you have questions regarding social security, or have you recently been denied your benefits by the Social Security Administration? Jackson & MacNichol Attorneys at Law can help. Our social security benefits attorneys are dedicated to obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation and learn how we can help improve your financial security.


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