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For Veterans

How Veterans Can Qualify For Disability Benefits To Help Acquire a Service Dog

If you are a veteran with a disability, you might be able to benefit from the help of a service dog. Well-trained service dogs can help make a significant difference in an individual’s daily life and functioning levels.

The cost for a service dog includes the training, adoption fees, neutering or spaying, vaccinations, physical exams and the checkups. You might be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits to help you cover the cost of your service dog.

Getting Approved For Social Security Disability Benefits vs. VA Benefits

If you are a disabled veteran who suffers from a disability that is a result of your military service, you are most likely getting benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). VA benefits are much different than the benefits you can receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The VA will only review your medical records that pertain to your military service. Any other medical conditions or injuries will not be considered in determining whether you are eligible for benefits. Also, they will only consider statements made by a VA physician.

You can receive VA benefits even if you aren’t considered totally disabled. Your benefits are based on your disability rating, so you can receive VA disability benefits with a rating as low as 10 percent.

To be approved for Social Security disability benefits, you must be determined to be 100 percent fully disabled. That means, you must not be able to work and earn a living for a year or longer or you must have a condition that is terminal.

Unlike the VA, the SSA will consider all your conditions and disabilities – regardless of whether they are related to your military service or not. You could have a 20 percent VA rating, but end up being determined fully disabled by the SSA because of other conditions, such as a heart problem or diabetes to go with your military back injury. Consult the SSA’s Blue Book to see which conditions you are experience that can qualify.

Your Monthly Benefits

You could receive monthly disability benefits from both the VA and the SSA. You could take your back pay from the SSA, if applicable, and use it toward your service dog. Or, you could take your monthly benefits and save them up to pay toward acquiring a service dog. Your Social Security disability benefits could be used in conjunction with other programs to help you get access to a dog that could help you overcome obstacles and live more independently.

Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are a veteran who would like to apply for disability benefits to help you acquire a service dog, you can start the process online, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by calling the SSA and setting up an appointment for your nearest SSA office.

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