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Question About Receiving Both V.A. Disability (IU) & Social Security Retirement

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Silver Gaia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 07:38 AM
Original message
Question About Receiving Both V.A. Disability (IU) & Social Security Retirement
I have a question I hope some DU vet out there may know the answer to:

My husband is a disabled 'Nam vet. He's rated 100% Permanent & Total (P&T) based on Individual Unemployability (IU). He's been receiving veteran's disability benefits at this rating for over 10 years now. He will turn 66 this fall, and will be eligible to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at the rate for full retirement age. The info we get in the mail from SS says he earned enough credits in the years when he could work, and did. (He no longer can, and hasn't for over 10 years now.) So, here's my question:

If he applies for Social Security retirement, will that affect his disability from the V.A.? I know if he was what's called "schedular" with the V.A., there would be no problem. But his rating is based on IU, meaning being unemployable, and we don't know if they look at that differently. I know that if it were a military retirement, he could take his retirement concurrent with disability. It seems only fair that he could take his civilian retirement from SS as well. He earned it.

But we don't know for sure, and don't know how to find out. We wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize his V.A. disability. It's much more than the SS retirement. We'd be sunk financially without it. But the SS retirement would sure help us out of a financial bind. (Things are tough out there for us all these days, it seems.)

Does anyone here know? Has anyone else done this? We aren't sure what to do.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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DustyJoe Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. SS and VA
He won't have any problem. As long as he paid in to SS and his statement shows his benefits, he will receive them. He can also get Medicare with his VA health Care. That way he has a way to get emergency care that the VA will not pay for even though he will have to pay the medicare deductible and co-pay. Truth be known, he could have applied for SS Disability when he received his 100% rating and probably received both payments back then 10 years ago. A lot of veterans who were wounded, but worked and paid into SS for decades find themselves at some point 100% unable to work as their disabilities worsen to the point they become unemployable. So it is NOT double dipping. 100% service connected should not be seen any different that a private sector Workmens Comp. And if a person pays into the SS System for 30-40 years, they are due their retirement benefits.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm a 70% disabled vet,
and have had no problem drawing both military retirment and social security. In fact, I was able to sign up for ss online, didn't even have to go to the office!
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newfie11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
3. I agree with the others
My husband is VA 100% disabled and also on Social security. He was on SSDI first before getting on VA disability. The SSDI switched to SS retirement when he reached 65. No problems with VA.

One thing you might check on is if SS will consider him disabled back the 10 years. He would get retro money. I am not sure how that works but you could certainly check with your local SS office.

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Silver Gaia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-18-10 03:08 AM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks for the replies!
Yes, he probably could have gotten SSDI, if only hed know in time that he could do that. No one tells you these things, unfortunately, unless you ask. I agree with what you say, and he is pretty much as you described. He was in his fifties when his disabilites worsened to the point of being unable to work. Prior to that, he had worked. But surgeries have left him unable to work any more.

The DAV helped him get his VA disability back then. He has whats called IU (Individual Unemployability), which, as I understand it, involves a complicated formula that the VA uses for vets who do not have ONE disability they can rate at 100% (that is schedular VA disability), but have several disabilities that all together can yield a more accurate rating of 100% when combined.

The problem is that there are different rules for schedular and IU. For example, a vet with a schedular rating of 100% can work if he finds he is able to do so without losing his VA disability, but a vet rated 100% because of unemployability (IU) cannot work without losing his VA disability. They claim that IU vets can engage in whats called marginal work (earning below the poverty level), but most advise not to even try it or else risk losing it all for a low-wage job that you cant support yourself with. This is not to say that my husband can work at all. He really cant. I just wanted to point out one of the differences between these two types of VA disability.

You made good points about Medicare. He gets all of his health care through the VA, including dental, so we are unsure what he is supposed to do about that, too.

It seems only fair to me, anyhow that he should be able to claim his SS retirement and continue to receive his IU disability from the VA. I know that he could claim military retirement and be on IU. I also know that had he applied for and received SSDI, that it would convert to regular SS retirement at age 66, and he would continue to receive both. So, I dont see why it would be considered any different for him to claim his SS retirement now. But, as I said, the rules are different for IU, and difficult to understand in some regards, so we are leery of doing anything that would upset the apple cart, so to speak.

You are drawing both military retirement and SS retirement? I assume since you say you are rated at 70% with the VA that you also receive VA disability? But your rating is schedular, not IU; correct? And thank you for your service.

Is your husbands 100% rating schedular or IU? Ive heard that SSDI converts to regular SS retirement at retirement age, and that this is true for both schedular and IU vets with no problems. I wish hed known he could apply for SSDI. I doubt theyd give him anything retroactively at this point, though, since he would have had to apply within 10 years of the last time he worked, and we missed that deadline.

I just want to know what the VAs rules are for SS retirement and IU disability. It would SEEM that if SSDI actually converts to SS retirement at age 66, and vets on IU can receive this (which I know they can), then he SHOULD be able to just get his SS retirement without any fuss. But if theres one thing weve learned with the VA, its never to assume anything. What seems like it should make sense is often not true. They surprise party factor is high with the VA, and we dont want any surprises!

We are going to check with the DAV and with Social Security, and see what they tell us. A recent phone call to the VAs 800# was not helpful. The person answering the phone didnt know, so she went to get her supervisor. All he would say is He SHOULD be able to do that. But he didnt know for sure. No one seems to know the answer to this question. IF and when we get an answer, Ill post it back here so that anyone clicking on this thread might be able to get an answer here.

In the meantime, if there is anyone here who has had personal experience from our particular standpoint already receiving 100% IU and applying for SS retirement concurrently please post and let us know what happened for you!

Thanks to all who posted here. Much appreciated!

And for those of you who served, we thank you for your service.

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Rickniu25 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-15-10 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Individual Unemployability
I have a combined service connected disability rating of 80% from the VA and I am payed the 100% rate for Individual Unemployability. I get monthly checks from Social Security Disability also. After the VA gave me the Individual Unemployability, my social security was easy. I applied and was approved really quick with no exam needed.
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