Disability Benefits for Veterans: Interactions Among Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Social Security Administration Programs

DRC Brief Number: 2016-07
Publisher: Washington, DC: Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
Jun 16, 2016
John Kregel and Lucy Miller
There are five major benefit programs that provide financial support to veterans with disabilities: The Department of Defense (DoD) Disability Retirement program; the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Compensation and Veterans Pension programs; and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. These programs vary widely in terms of purpose, eligibility criteria, beneficiary characteristics, amount of benefits, interactions with other programs, and the effect of employment on continued eligibility and cash benefit amount. The differences are complex and difficult to understand, often making it extremely difficult for veterans with disabilities to make fully informed financial and employment choices.