As an American citizen, if you are disabled, you can apply for public disability benefits that you can use to help pay for your disability expenses. The main two programs that pay disability benefits in the United States are the VA Disability Compensation program and the Social Security Disability program. The Social Security Administration also provides other types of benefits that you may be eligible to receive according to your age and earnings.
If you are a disabled veteran who has worked and paid Social Security taxes, you are probably eligible to receive veteran benefits as well as Social Security benefits. If you have applied for both the veterans program for disability and your Social Security benefits, you can receive both benefits at the same time without further complications.
Social Security Disability
If you have not yet reached retirement age but you are totally and permanently disabled, or if you have a terminal condition, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. To receive these benefits, you must have paid Social Security tax before you became disabled. If you also qualify to receive veteran disability benefits, you may receive both without reducing the amount you are entitled to receive for your Social Security benefits.
Social Security Retirement
The major part of the Social Security taxes you pay is used to build funds for your retirement. Full retirement age is at 66, or 67 if you were born after 1960. However, you can retire as early as 62 years of age. Once you retire, the government pays you a monthly pension that helps you to pay your expenses. This pension is based on your average lifetime earnings, which means that your retirement pension is calculated according to what you have earned in all your years of work. If you retire at full retirement age, other benefits you receive, such as VA Disability compensation, do not reduce or affect the amount of retirement you receive, and you can receive both at the same time without problems.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another benefit you can receive through the Social Security Administration. However, you are not required to have paid Social Security tax to qualify to receive SSI benefits. The amount you receive is not determined according to your past earnings; it is determined by your current income. Only individuals with low income can qualify to receive SSI benefits. As of 2011, $1,000 per month is considered substantial income, although each state has its own rules. If you receive VA Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration analyzes your total income, including VA benefits, to decide whether or not you qualify to receive SSI. If your VA benefits, plus your income, exceed the allowable income limit, you are most likely not eligible for SSI benefits.