“Starting March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P&T) may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits.” This is a direct quote from the Social Security Administration’s website. This is great news for 100% disabled veterans. In my Indiana law office, we have already seen the results of this rule. Social Security has called us to schedule expedited hearings for several of my clients who are disabled veterans, in some cases cutting months off of their expected waiting time for their hearings.
Unfortunately, I have had to explain to my clients that just because the VA has assigned them a disability rating of 100% permanent and total, it does not mean that Social Security is required to find them disabled as well. The Veteran’s Administration and Social Security have different rules and different definitions of disability, so they do not always reach the same conclusion after evaluating the same person. While your VA disability rating letter is important evidence in your Social Security disability claim, it does not guarantee you will be found disabled. The only advantage this rule gives to veterans with a 100% VA rating is a faster processing time for their claims.
There are a few ways to apply for Social Security Disability benefits:
To receive the expedited hearing:
Even though your 100% rating will speed up the processing of your claim, a disability application and appeal can still take a relatively long time. If your application is denied, you must still go through the necessary steps to get to the hearing stage. The length of time for the entire process varies from person to person. According to the Social Security Administration’s website there are three main factors that can affect the length of the process:
As I said before, since this program went into effect, we have seen more than a few of our clients get hearings scheduled in a much more timely manner. If you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability benefits and have a 100% P&T rating from the VA, make sure you include this information with your application. If you have questions or concerns about this new rule, feel free to contact your local SSA office, a Social Security disability attorney, or a claimant representative. Most attorneys and claimant representatives offer a free consultation.