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For years, Social Security disability in Mississippi and and elsewhere paid no attention to VA disability ratings and gave no preference to veterans in speeding the cases along. Social Security disability said it evaluated cases differently than VA disability so it didn't need to pay attention. Virtually, every time an appeals court looked at that over the years, it came to the same conclusion in polite, stilted legal language that roughly translated: "You've got to be kidding. If someone, is disabled under VA disability rules then the Social Security disability folks have got to take a close look because it's the same doctors treating and the same disabling injuries and conditions in the same person. There is little or no difference in a disability under Social Security disability and VA disability in the same person."
So, Social Security Disability changed its rules because it got tired of losing cases over and over and over again. Now it will pay attention to the VA disability ratings. More than that, it will give it "significant weight" a term of art that means unless there is some heavy duty contradiction a person with a VA disability of 70-100% has a pretty good chance of wining a Mississippi Social Security disability case. And, Social Security added a new rule for veterans with VA disabilities in the 70-100% range moved up on the list of pending hearings. As a practical matter, if a veteran has a 70-100% VA disability, then the Mississippi Social Security disability case in northern Mississippi will often make a favorable ruling on the case without waiting for a hearing.
At my office we take advantage of this by collecting all the information proving the VA disability ratings and sending into the northern Mississippi Social Security disability office which hears such appeals - ODAR, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review - in Tupelo. We ask for the case to sped up and make sure the person in charge of that has the information she needs. We collect all the medicals so the judge who gets the case will have every thing to make the decision. As I said above, if the Mississippi Social Security disability folks get everything they need for a veteran with VA disabilities int the 70-100% range they can often make a favorable decision, i.e, award Social Security disability benefits without waiting for a hearing.
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