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Social Security Disability Benefits and Disability Evaluations for Other Programs

By R. M. Bottger 

Many of the people who apply for Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits have had their impairments evaluated by other disability programs such as Worker’s Compensation, The Veteran’s Administration, and private disability insurance. If you have been evaluated by any other program, the Social Security Administration will want to obtain copies of any resulting medical records including examinations and medical tests. The Social Security Administration will consider these medical records when making its decision on your Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income disability claim. However, the Social Security Administration will draw its own conclusion as to whether or not you are disabled. If one of these programs has awarded you benefits based on your impairment(s), it does not mean that the Social Security Administration will determine that you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

The purpose of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income is different from the purpose of these other programs. The laws, regulations, and court decisions that the Social Security Administration uses to make its decisions differ from these other programs. Therefore, Social Security's  conclusions may differ from the conclusions of these other programs.

            Some of these programs evaluate disability in terms of percentages. For example, Worker’s Compensation may conclude that you have “a 60% impairment to your right upper extremity” or “a 40% impairment to the whole person.” The Veteran’s Administration may conclude that you have “a 100% service-related disability.” The Social Security Administration does not use percentages. For the purpose of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability claims, either you are disabled or you aren’t. The percentage of disability as determined by other programs does not have any bearing on your Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income disability case.

            Different programs may consider different impairments when making their decisions. For example, Worker’s Compensation considers only work-related impairments. The Social Security Administration considers impairments that are not work-related as well; therefore, be sure to list all of your impairments on your application for Social Security disability benefits. Private disability insurance may award benefits for short-term disabilities. However, the Social Security Administration only awards benefits based on impairments that are going to last at least twelve months in a row or end in death. (See How Long Must Your Impairment Last to Qualify for Disability Benefits?)  The Veteran’s Administration considers whether impairments are service-related. Whether or not an impairment is service-related makes no difference to your claim for Social Security disability benefits.

In conclusion, you cannot predict the decision on your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability claim based on the decisions of other programs. The Social Security Administration makes its own determinations regarding disability.

 

 

 

 


 
 

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