|Natalia Jofre:||Hi, and welcome to Hill & Ponton Social Security and Disability Blog. I’m Natalia Jofre, the director for our Social Security section.|
|Shelly Mark:||And I’m Shelly Mark. I’m the senior Social Security attorney.|
|Natalia Jofre:||As you may know if you’ve been watching our blogs, we’ve been talking about veterans’ disability benefits in conjunction with Social Security disability and how they can help each other and things like that. One of the things that we were discussing is applying for Social Security if you’re a disabled veteran and how that can help.|
|Shelly Mark:||Right. You’re gonna kind of have a situation where it’s gonna depend on which one of your benefits is approved first to which is going to have the favorable use of the evidence from the other, meaning if your Social Security is approved and you’re found to be disabled and unable to work, then we will use that evidence in your VA claim to prove that you are disabled and unable to work. Although the government agencies aren’t required to agree with one another, they are required to give a certain weight to the evidence that the other agency has found you to be disabled. So it’s not an automatic shoo-in. Just because Social Security says you’re disabled, the VA can disagree. And just because the VA says you’re disabled, Social Security can certainly disagree, and they do that frequently.|
|Natalia Jofre:||And we have people tell us that all the time. “One’s a federal agency and the other’s a federal agency. How can one say I’m disabled and the other one doesn’t?” And it’s like, “Listen, we agree with you. You know, we feel the same way, but we don’t make up the laws and we don’t decide who wins and who doesn’t.” But it’s a really good point and it is real favorable evidence for whichever case is still pending.|
|Natalia Jofre:||One of the other things is not just benefits for the veteran, but benefits for the veteran’s dependents. If you’re a disabled widow or if you’re a disabled adult child or even a disabled child, a dependent child, any other person that’s potentially eligible for DIC benefits, sometimes we’ve had situations where the widow will say, “Well, I’m already getting this from DIC, so I can’t pursue that.” And what we wanna tell you is, don’t make that decision on your own.|
|Shelly Mark:||Right, let us try to at least take a look and see, because like you said, there are a lot of situations to where, as a widow or a disabled child you may be entitled to benefits from the Veterans’ Administration as well as the Social Security Administration.|
|Natalia Jofre:||And there are a lot of rules and regulations that go into that. I mean, it is not an easy read where, “Oh, let me just figure this out and see if I can get benefits.” I always tell people, “Apply for benefits. If you’re not gonna qualify, let them deny you and find out what you’re technically dealing with.” Because I will tell you, people are commonly denied for medical reasons, and that’s what we specialize in, is appealing those medical denials, but I am also seeing, more and more now, technical denials where they’re telling people, “You technically don’t qualify. You don’t meet these parameters.” And it’s actually an incorrect decision.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s very, very true.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah, so we can appeal those as well. And then in addition to that, there are other benefits that you can sometimes qualify for as a disabled veteran, just in a much grander scale, much grander scope. Like in the state of Florida, you can get …|
|Shelly Mark:||The property taxes annu- there’s a property tax exemption, I think with certain recreational fishing license, hunting license, and things like that. And I think there’s more out there than that, but it’s definitely something to look into if you are and have been found to be a disabled veteran.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. A lot of those depend on whether you’re 100% service-connected. I know that the- I believe. I shouldn’t say I know. I believe. And this is why we don’t like to specifically advise on those things, is because they can change. Sometimes if you’re 100% service-connected, sometimes if you have a lower connection. What we always recommend is that people talk to their VSOs and let them tell you the scope of what you can qualify for in your area, because sometimes it does depend on the state you’re in, what you can qualify for, for free. But added benefits are added benefits.|
|Shelly Mark:||Absolutely. One pattern that I tend to see a little on the Social Security side of things are a lot of denials of veterans that are 100% service-connected but are under the age of 50. So we wanna really encourage those veterans not to give up on the claim. Definitely, seek out help. Come to us or someone else to see if there is an avenue to have you approved. If you are under 50 and you’re 100% disabled through the VA, very, very common to be denied at those first two levels, but it can be a very different outcome once you get before a judge. So just keep pursuing it.|
|Natalia Jofre:||That’s good. All right, that’s all for today. We’ll see you next time. If you have any questions, feel free to visit our website or call our office. Thank you.|
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