After dedicating your life to the military and serving your country in conflict in the Southwest Asia Theater, it can be difficult to admit when you need to file a disability claim. Fortunately, as a veteran of the Armed Forces, you are able to file for VA disability and Social Security Administration disability. Here's what you need to know.

Presumptive Disability

It doesn't matter whether a limb was amputated or if you have what has been referred to previously as Gulf War Syndrome: you could qualify for disability payments, even if you have an undiagnosed condition, if you served in the Southwest Asia theater on or after September 19, 2001. If you apply for this type of disability compensation, it is important to apply for VA disability first before you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The reason is because of a ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that says that the Social Security Administration must consider a disability rating from the Veteran's Administration as highly relevant.

VA Disability Rating

Of course, the higher your VA disability rating, the more likely your SSDI will be approved. VA disability is rated from 0% to 100%, with payments made based on percentage of disability that is determined by the VA, and this percentage is based on the extent of your illnesses. It's important to show as much evidence as you can as to the extent of your illnesses in order to get a higher rating. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to show medical documentation from appointments and treatments, and this is vastly different from what is required by the SSA.

"Suck it up, buttercup," is a military saying that you've likely taken to heart during and after your service in the military, which may mean that you have not gone to the doctor to try to figure out what is wrong with your health. Fortunately, the VA provides examinations to veterans who have no documented medical history of a service-related illness. Therefore, it's highly advisable to file a claim with the VA and go through that process before filing a disability claim through the SSA.

File for VA disability at your nearest VA regional office. After the VA has given you a disability rating, take the paperwork to a lawyer such as Bruce K Billman who specializes in SSA disability claims instead of attempting to file a claim yourself. That way, you won't run the risk of having errors or an incomplete file, which could cause the claim to be denied.