Social Security Disability
Halt | March 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Connection Between Disability Ratings And Social Security Disability Benefits

Navigating the world of disability benefits can be challenging and confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the connection between disability ratings and Social Security Disability benefits.

This blog post aims to shed light on this complex relationship, providing you with valuable insights that can help you better comprehend the process and make informed decisions.

Different Disability Rating Systems

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It’s crucial to recognize that disability ratings are determined by different systems depending on the context, and the disability rating calculator used.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns disability ratings to veterans based on their service-connected disabilities, while the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates disability claims based on an individual’s ability to work.

While both systems aim to provide financial assistance to those with disabilities, their evaluation criteria and benefits structure differ.

Social Security Disability Benefits Eligibility

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an individual must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, which focuses on the individual’s ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

A person’s disability rating assigned by the VA or another organization does not guarantee eligibility for SSDI or SSI.

The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process

When determining eligibility for SSDI or SSI, the SSA follows a five-step sequential evaluation process. This process assesses the individual’s work activity, the severity of their medical condition, the match between their condition and the SSA’s list of impairments, their ability to perform past work, and their capacity to perform other types of work.

The disability rating assigned by another organization, such as the VA, does not directly impact this evaluation process.

Medical Evidence

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Though the disability ratings themselves may not directly influence the SSA’s decision, the medical evidence supporting the rating can play a crucial role in the SSA’s evaluation process.

Providing comprehensive medical records, treatment history, and doctors’ assessments can help support your SSDI or SSI claim.

Ensure that the medical evidence you submit aligns with the SSA’s requirements and addresses the factors they consider during their evaluation process.

The Role Of Residual Functional Capacity

The SSA assesses an individual’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) when determining their ability to work. The RFC takes into account the individual’s physical and mental limitations resulting from their disability.

While the disability rating assigned by the VA or another organization does not directly impact the RFC, the evidence supporting the rating can help the SSA better understand the individual’s limitations and restrictions when evaluating their RFC.

Potential For Concurrent Benefits

In some cases, individuals may be eligible for both VA disability benefits and SSDI or SSI benefits. This can occur when a veteran meets the SSA’s definition of disability while also having a service-connected disability rating from the VA.

Receiving concurrent benefits is subject to the eligibility criteria of both programs and does not happen automatically. It is essential to apply for each benefit separately and provide the necessary documentation to support your claims.

The Importance Of Accurate And Complete Applications

To ensure the best possible outcome when applying for SSDI or SSI, it’s essential to submit an accurate and complete application. Provide all relevant medical evidence, employment history, and any additional documentation required by the SSA.

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While your disability rating from the VA or another organization may not directly impact your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, providing thorough and accurate information will help the SSA better understand your situation and make an informed decision on your claim.


Grasping the intricate relationship between disability ratings and Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging, but it is essential to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the process. Being aware of the key factors that tie these two aspects together enables individuals to make well-informed decisions and navigate the benefits landscape more effectively. With a clearer comprehension of the distinctions between the two systems, the evaluation criteria, and the significance of accurate and complete applications, individuals seeking disability benefits can approach the process with greater confidence and knowledge.

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