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What To Know About Social Security Disabled Veterans Rates

Last updated: August 6, 2023

Veterans with debilitating injuries or service-connected disabilities often experience financial hardships and mental health problems. In order to assist disabled veterans and service members, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers various types of benefit programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance. 

In 2022, over 8.0 million veterans received Social Security benefits, which accounted for 14.5% of all adult beneficiaries. This article provides an overview of Social Security disabled veterans rates and the process for filing a disability claim. Read the article below to learn more. 

Benefits Of Social Security For Disabled Veterans

In addition to VA disability compensation, disabled veterans struggling to seek and obtain substantial employment may also qualify for Social Security benefits. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that provides monthly cash benefits and Medicare coverage to disabled veterans who are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, veterans must have worked a certain number of years and have paid Social Security taxes. Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there are no income restrictions to receive SSDI. 

Monthly Payment Rates For SSDI Benefits

The monthly benefit amount for disabled veterans is based on the veteran's average lifetime earnings before the onset of the disability. Each beneficiary's payment is calculated differently based on how much they contributed to the system while still employed. 

The SSA safeguards SSDI recipients against rising inflation rates and living expenses. On an annual basis, the SSA administers a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to their benefits to ensure the amounts remain competitive. Hence, a disabled employee receiving SSDI in 2023 can expect to receive $1,483 in monthly benefits, a $119 raise from the previous year. The maximum amount provided to veterans receiving SSDI is $3,636. 

In some instances, veterans may also receive retroactive pay from the SSA for up to 12 months after their Protective Filing Date (PFD). 

Service-Connected Disability Ratings & Payments

For VA disability pay, your service-connected disability ratings will affect the amount of compensation and benefits you receive. Higher VA disability ratings equate to a larger compensation. In addition, if you are awarded at least 60% VA disability rating or total disability rating, you may also be eligible for VA Unemployability benefits and vocational rehabilitation. 

However, SSDI determines your monthly payments based on your lifetime earnings contribution. Therefore, social Security considers your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) rather than the severity of your service-connected disability. 

How To Apply For Benefits And Expedited Processing Options

You can apply for disability benefits online at your convenience with Social Security’s online portal. Just follow these simple steps to begin:

  • Read and understand the Adult Disability Checklist
  • Fill up and submit the Disability Benefit Application 60 days before your protective filing date (PFD).
  • Provide all necessary evidence and supporting documents for your disability claim
  • Complete the Medical Release Form 

Veterans may qualify for expedited processing of their disability claims, provided they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You are a veteran with a 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) VA disability rating. 
  • You are a veteran who suffered disabling physical injuries or mental conditions while on active military duty on or after October 1, 2001. 

To receive expedited disability claims processing, the veteran should indicate in their SSDI application that they are a “Veteran rated 100% P&T” or that their injuries are service-connected. 

Documentation Required To File A Claim

The following documents are also necessary to support your claims:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Valid proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible immigrant status
  • U.S. military discharge papers indicating honorable discharge
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year
  • Medical documents, including medical records, recent lab test results, and doctor’s reports. 
  • A copy of your VA disability rating letter (if you are applying for expedited processing)
  • Pay stubs, award letters, or settlement agreement

Average Earnings & Pension Benefits Reviewed By SSA

The primary insurance amount (PIA) a veteran may receive from their Social Security benefits is determined using their average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). 

AIME is calculated by considering the 35 years corresponding to the period where the veteran’s income is at its highest. The years with the highest earnings are then averaged for salary growth and adjusted to produce a monthly total.

Most government pensions do not impact your SSDI eligibility or the monthly SSDI benefits you receive. However, the veteran may no longer qualify for SSDI benefits if the veteran is currently receiving a VA pension but does not meet the basic work history requirements set by the SSA. 

Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Support & Services

Aside from the SSA, the Department of Veterans Affairs also offers several assistance programs and services to veterans with service-connected disabilities and their eligible dependents. These include the following:

  • VA Disability Compensation
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
  • Survivors Pension
  • Special Monthly Compensation
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • TDIU and VA Unemployability
  • Chapter 35


Veterans who cannot work due to service-connected disabilities may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Eligible veterans receive monthly cash benefits based on their lifetime earnings contribution and AIME.

If you need help filing a disability claim, check out this article from Disability Help on the 6 best VA disability lawyers online.

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Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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