Can they really take away my VA pension benefits if I get social security disability benefits - what the heck!?!?!?

Asked over 2 years ago - Waukegan, IL

I got sick form cancer back in 2011, dealt with my treatment first and then tried to figure out how I was going to make it since I could not work anymore. So in Jnauary of this year I got around to applying for veterans and social security disability benefits. After a couple of months I got approved for a VA nonservice connected pension and then I just go my social security disability denial. I am going to appeal my social security disability denial of course, but I was talking to the barroom lawyer and she was telling me that if I get the social security disability benefits that my VA benefits will go away. Is this right?? Well I know it is not right but is that correct is what I meant! Also she said I might have to pay back the VA for the benefits I am getting while I wait for SSD - yes?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Clifford Michael Farrell

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I cannot tell if you are applying for SSI, or SSDI. SSI is a need based program; SSDI is based on earnings you made and taxes you paid.

    VA pension is a needs based program. VA Compensation is service connected benefits for injuries sustained while on active duty in the military.

    If you are awarded SSDI, the VA pension stops. I have never had a client asked to pay the VA, so I would expect any benefits you have already received will not have to be repaid.

    If you SSI is approved, you may have the VA pension removed or reduced - it depends on the amount you are getting from the VA. SSI pays a maximum of $698, but they will look at what amounts you got from the VA too.

    Have you talked to an attorney about possible assistance in a VA service connected claim? You can find an attorney who will answer questions about veteran benefits at

    For the Social Security claim, you may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

    The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

    In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

    Their link is:

    I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should... more
  2. Gerald Gregory Lutkenhaus

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Farrell. If you get Nonservice connected VA benefits then this will end when you qualify for SS Disability. If your VA benefits were service connected this would not be the case.

    This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is... more
  3. Gregory E. Tuite


    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . For VA benefits questions I advise speaking to the state veterans service officer:

    North Chicago VA Medical Center
    3001 Green Bay Rd
    Building 135 - Room 156 & 157
    North Chicago, IL 60064

    VSO: Angela Walker
    Ph: (847) 689-4798
    Female Service Officer Available
    VSO: Jacob Zimmerman
    Ph: (847) 689-4153

    In regard to your Social Security benefits you should file an appeal asap. You only have 60 days from the receipt of the denial to file an appeal. You can hire an attorney who focuses Social Security Disability/SSI and works on a contingency basis to help you. The NOSSCR information given above is a good referral source.

    Greg Tuite
    Attorney at Law
    Greg Tuite & Associates
    119 N. Church St., #407
    Rockford, IL 61105
    815-962-6566 Fax

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