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Can Veteran Disability Benefits be deducted from my monthly long term disability insurance check?

The answer to this question depends on the language contained within your long term disability insurance policy. In most disability claims that are governed by ERISA there is an offset provision for other disability related benefits such as SSDI, Worker Compensation or Veteran Benefits. There have been several court opinions around the country that have found that if a claimant is receiving VA benefits for a disabling condition unrelated to the disabling condition filed with the disability insurance carrier, then the disability company should not be entitled to an offset for VA benefits.

Take a look at our discussion of the case of Riley v. Sun Life Insurance for a more detailed discussion regarding VA disability benefits as an offset.

There are 12 opinions so far. Add your comment below.

George Gridley:

I have an interesting question. I retired from the Naval Reserve in 1998 after 20 years of service For approximately 12 years of that period I served in a Volunteer Training Unit. This means that I performed regular drills without pay but received retirement points like any other reservist. Upon my retirement I was placed in a status known as “gray area” as such,I could not collect a pension until my 60th birthday. In 2005 I went on long term disability.It will expire in 5 more years. The pension is unique in that it has no vesting dates or provision for vesting and will vanish if I die before age 60. Additionally my spouse has certain rights in regard to payments and is no way awarded for any disability. The policy appears to have some language claming setoffs for other sources of income. Could a set off be claimed successfully here where if the benefit were earned it occurred prior to any disability? I have copies of policies for 2 consecutive years. The carrier and I agree as to which one covers my claim for benefits. However the carriers claim for set offs is defined fairly broadly therein in opposition to which I would contend that this pension is not what was intended as Other sources. A subsequent policy gives examples of things which will not be considered other sources and among those are “veteran’s benefits”. Does this include my pension though administered by the Department of Defense rather than Veteran’s Affairs? Language addressing set offs for governmental or pubic pensions do not seem to include military pensions as subject to such claims. The other source language does change, so which is operative, the year that I go on disability even though there is no pension there, the one in effect when I turn 60 and can make a claim for the pension. Note thatI must apply it will not be started automatically or some other effective time frame. I do not believe that the carrier is entitled to cash in for those years that I served my country for free. Your thoughts with any relevant case citations would be welcome.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


“Veteran Benefits” as defined in long term disability policies only include monetary disability benefits from the VA. Some policies allow for setoff due to retirement plans. As to whether your Pension would qualify, it would be impossible to know or advise without first reviewing the policy.


I’m on std with job and I’m 60 percent disabled with va. Can Aetna find out about my va disablity?

Attorney Alex Palamara:

Adrian, potentially and in all likelihood they will. Your policy will govern whether such benefits are an offset. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact our office and have a copy of the policy available.

Brock A.:

I am 70% VA disabled. I’ve been at Coors for 18 years. I’m currently out on my second short term disability due to hostile work environment panic attacks and hostile feelings towards other workers and bad management. I’m applying for long term from them. Can they deny me or reduce the claim due to what I get from the VA?

Attorney Rachel Alters:

Brock, you would have to request a copy of your LTD policy from Coors and look under the section labeled “Other Income”. There it should state what is and is not considered other income. Sometimes VA benefits are offset from LTD benefits, but only if you are receiving them for the same disability you are claiming for the LTD. If you would like a free consultation you can contact our firm and ask to speak to an attorney.

Richard G.:

I am on LTD from my employer for severe depression and vision loss. I have just received my VA disability for vision loss, IBS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). In my awards letter from LTD disability it does not mention VA compensation. My question, Will my VA disability income be deducted from my LTD income. I have called my LTD company and they said it depends on what the VA disability is for. I am at a loss.

Attorney Cesar Gavidia:

Richard, the question of whether your LTD benefits will be offset by your VA benefits depends on the terms and conditions of your disability insurance policy. If your disability insurance policy states that your monthly benefit can be offset by other income benefits including VA benefits then your monthly LTD benefit will likely be reduced.

Gerry A.:

I am retired from the Navy. My Navy retirement income is offset by my the amount of My VA disability benefits. I am facing long term disability from my job. They want to offset my disability payment by the amount of my VA disability check, which will result in my income being offset twice for the VA disability. Is there any way to prevent this?

Attorney Jay Symonds:

Gerry, if the VA benefit is considered “Other Income” under the employer provided group disability policy they will likely not factor/consider the fact that the retirement benefit is already offset by the VA benefit. In fact, you should check your policy to ensure that the Navy retirement benefit is not also an offset to the group disability benefit. I suggest you request and send in your employer provided group policy and contact our office and speak with one of the attorneys to address your situation.

Jack B.:

I receive 100% from the va and worked for ups since 2012. I went out on disability in February of 2018 and had to fight Aetna and ups since then to get pay. First they denied me due to the act of war clause. Then they did a partial overturn. Then I got an attorney involved and ups made it a work related injury from the harassment I was receiving while there. Then Aetna told us we had to apply for workers comp. I showed them I reported the injury numerous times over the last year and was never acknowledged by ups on it. Aetna came back now and they are taking almost 17,000 dollars off of my backpay because of my VA Disability.

My attorney tells me the std contract states they can do this. But I don’t agree with the attorney because I’m out of work for a different reason. My va pay doesn’t pay me for the hostile work environment that caused me to have to leave work and apply for disability. My attorney says there the best and welcome any other attorney who knows more than they do.

So in closing can Aetna really count my va money I receive while I’m on disability due to the harassment I was receiving from work? They took almost 17,000 off leaving us with 9k minus the attorneys 33% fee. I told the attorney I don’t accept this and they don’t seem to care. Thanks

Attorney Jay Symonds:

Jack, the sources of other income Aetna can offset against your monthly disability benefit is spelled out in the UPS Group Disability Policy. I suggest you contact our office and send in your Policy then speak with one of the attorneys to address the specific questions you have regarding your situation.

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