When people think of the government, they tend to think of it all being one big entity. It is not. Disabled veterans may believe because they have a disability rating from the Department of Veteran Affairs , that should translate to an automatic approval of a claim for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. After all, if the disability was good enough for the VA doctors, it should be good enough for SSDI claims examiners.
However, that is not how the system works. In part, because they are different systems with different standards and they need to comply with different laws, automatic approval for SSDI benefits is simply not possible.
Many veterans have been frustrated by the long delays faced during the application process for SSDI. The backlog, in spite of numerous plans to eliminate it, has plagued the SSDI system for years and still averages three months or more. If your claim is denied, and you have to appeal, it may take years before you receive your SSDI benefits.
Last week the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would provide some relief to disabled veterans, by giving their SSDI applications higher priority. This should reduce the time they have to wait before they receive their SSDI benefits.
The SSA officials point out that this does not lessen the eligibility requirements for an applicant. Veterans still have to meet all of the criteria with their physical or mental impairment in order to be classified as disabled for purposes of the SSD definition, but they should no longer have to wait two years to receive their benefits.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Social Security to expedite veteran disability claims,” Yvonne Wenger and John Fritze, February 18, 2014