Social security

How much is social security for disabled veterans?

If you are a disabled veteran, you may be eligible to receive various benefits from Social Security. Find out how much Social Security benefits disabled veterans can receive.

3 min read

Social Security pays disability benefits to individuals who are unable to work due to a disabling condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability that occurred during active military service, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and VA disability compensation.

Disabled veterans may be eligible for SSDI benefits ranging from an average monthly payment of $1,483 in 2023 to a maximum SSDI benefit of $3,636 in the same period. Veterans may also qualify to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments of up to $914 for eligible individuals and up to $1,371 for eligible couples.

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to individuals with a medical condition that limits their ability to work. If you qualify for SSDI, the benefits you receive depend on your work history and earnings.

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, disabled veterans must show evidence of physical or mental disability that affects their ability to work. Also, you must show that the disabling condition has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more, or result in death. If you are eligible for benefits, payments will start within 6 months after the disability occurred.

The amount you receive in disability payments depends on the amount you have paid into Social Security and your age when you draw Social Security. In 2023, the average SSDI monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,483, and the maximum disability payments can go up to $3,636.

What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a social protection program that provides monthly benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources.

For 2023, the maximum SSI payments you can receive is $914 for individuals or $1,371 for married couples, up from $841 for individuals and $1,261 for married couples in 2022. However, the monthly SSI payment is reduced by any eligible monthly income and you risk losing the SSI payments if the income exceeds the SSI payment.

An example of an eligible monthly income is VA disability benefits, which may reduce your SSI payments or make you ineligible to receive SSI payments. SSA classifies VA benefits as "unearned income" since it is not obtained from paid employment. Hence, the VA benefits will be deducted from the monthly SSI payment, after deducting a general exclusion of $20.

Expedited Social Security benefits for disabled veterans

You may qualify for expedited disability claim processing if you have a VA disability compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T) or if you develop a disability while on active military service. Expedited processing means you could begin receiving your monthly payments in weeks once your medical evidence is processed.

If you have a 100% P&T disability rating, you can identify yourself as a Veteran Rated 100% P&T when applying for SSDI and SSI benefits and attach your VA rating notification letter.

If you suffered disabling physical or mental injuries while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, you are eligible for expedited SSDI and SSI application processing. When initiating the SSDI application, you should inform SSA that the injuries occurred while on active duty.

SSDI vs VA Disability compensation- How do they compare?

SSDI and VA disability are benefits from different government programs, and they have varying requirements. This means that your application at one government agency may not affect your application at another agency, and you can receive both benefits simultaneously if you meet their requirements. Additionally, getting approved for one of the benefits does not guarantee you approval for the other benefit.

The biggest difference between SSDI and VA disability is that the latter grades disability on a sliding scale of 0 to 100%, while the former considers whether you are disabled or not disabled. The VA rates your disability on a percentage scale, based on how much the condition affects your health, and the rating assigned determines the VA benefits you get. On the other hand, for SSDI, you must have a medical condition that affects your ability to work for at least one year or result in death. However, the benefits you get depend on the amount you have paid into Social Security.

If you qualify for both SSDI and VA disability, you can apply for both benefits separately. Your VA rating does not affect your SSDI application, but Social Security can use it as proof of your disability. Also, the SSDI benefits you receive do not affect your VA benefits, so you can apply for and receive both benefits. You can also qualify to receive SSI payments, but the amount you receive could be affected by VA benefits. If your VA benefits exceed the accepted income level, you risk losing your SSI benefits eventually.

In 2023, SSDI recipients can receive up to $1,470 per month, without affecting their benefits. This is an increase from the $1,350 maximum SSDI benefit for 2022. On the other hand, VA benefits for a veteran with no spouse or children start from $165.92 per month for a 10% disability rating up to $3,621.93 for a 100% disability rating.