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.

Comments (32)

  • F.M., the policy usually requires you to apply for all potential benefits that you could be entitled to.

    Rachel Alters Dec 21, 2022  #32

  • My husband gets LTD and was forced to apply for SSDI to offset the amount the insurance pays. Now they are trying force my husband to apply for VA benefits to further offset his disability. They said if he does not prove that he’s applied for VA benefits that they will estimate his entitlement and deduct it anyway.

    F. M. Dec 20, 2022  #31

  • Lamont, usually an insurance carrier is only permitted to offset your disability benefits with VA benefits if they are for the same injury or illness. It will really depend what the language in your policy says about VA benefits specifically.

    Rachel Alters Sep 21, 2022  #30

  • Hello. I was in the National Guard for 14 years. During my time in the military, I also had a regular (40 hours a week) job. Now, I’m currently receiving VA Disability for epilepsy and I am also receiving long term disability for a work-related shoulder injury that required surgery (and now I no longer have use of that arm). Anyway. I was told last month that Reliance Standard overpaid me for the amount I was receiving from my VA Disability and won’t receive another check until that overpayment is paid. I was never told or asked about any other income. Is that legal? If so, how can I go about changing that?
    To recap. I was receiving VA Disability and Long Term Disability for 2 completely different reasons. The amount of both is half of what I was making at my civilian job.

    Lamont Sep 19, 2022  #29

  • John, the best way to determine whether they are permitted to offset your benefits is to review the Ltd policy under the section called Other Income. It should be clear whether they are permitted to offset VA benefits. Usually they are only permitted to offset these benefits if they are awarded for the same disability that Standard is paying you for.

    Rachel Alters Jun 23, 2022  #28

  • Can Reliance Standard life insurance offset my long-term disability because I am 100% VA disabled benefits total and permanent? I was collecting short-term disability from reliance and it was not offset because of my VA disability benefits. They’re willing to pay 10% which is what they’re obligated to pay, which is approximately $380 a month. I don’t believe they can offset my LTD because of my va benefits as my diagnosis has not changed and will not change. Can you help me out with this?

    John Jun 22, 2022  #27

  • Brian, if your policy specifically states military disability income is not an offset then there should not be an offset for your VA benefits. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your concerns in greater detail. We would be more than willing to provide you with a review of your policy and free consultation.

    Stephen Jessup May 3, 2021  #26

  • The LTD policy for my job lists income offsets for disability pay from the federal government through SSDI and “any other act or law with similar intent”. It further goes on to specify “military disability income” will NOT be considered an offset. Does my VA disability pay for an unrelated condition fall under “military disability income”. What if one of my VA disability conditions is the same as my LTD payment? Thank you.

    Brian May 2, 2021  #25

  • Ken, thank you for your Service. While would we have to review a copy of the Hartford’s LTD policy, given the fact that there is no increase in the money being received from the VA, I do not think it is likely that Hartford could offset your LTD benefits any further. If you have a copy of the governing LTD policy, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.

    Alex Palamara Mar 6, 2021  #24

  • I’m a retired Navy veteran (21 yrs). I had an increase in my VA waiver from 30 to 40 percent. I’m receiving long term disability payments from The Hartford. 20 percent of VA waiver is for my back and 20 percent for my knees. Can my disability payments be reduced because of the increase in VA waiver? My disability from the Hartford is for my back not my knees. Also my gross income is not increased just less of it is taxable. There is no increase in money for any disability. Only the percentages of disability are not taxable.

    Ken M. Mar 6, 2021  #23

  • Larry, in order to assess whether your VA benefits will be an offset, we will need to review a copy of the policy governing your claim. Please get ahold of a copy and contact us for a free consultation.

    Alex Palamara Jan 27, 2021  #22

  • STD did not use va compensation as income thus no offset. I have just transitioned to LTD and there is discussion whether or not to off set LTD by the VA compensation. Your opinion is respected.

    Larry Jan 27, 2021  #21

  • Wesley, you will need to consult the Group Policy/Certificate to determine whether VA benefits constitute a deductible source of income (i.e., “Other Income”), which may reduce your monthly benefit. Generally speaking, a VA benefit for a condition unrelated to your disabling condition should not be an offset but, again, you should confirm by consulting the policy. If you run into any difficulties with the carrier you can contact our office and speak with one of the attorneys.

    Jay Symonds Jan 14, 2021  #20

  • I will be receiving company LTD benefits in the next year or so. I’m a pilot and am having brain surgery for a tumor and this will keep me from flying (my means of income) forever. I also have several pending VA claims that are NOT related to this brain issue (back pain, joint issues, etc). Will LTD payments be reduced/offset by my future unrelated VA payments.

    Wesley F. Jan 14, 2021  #19

  • Charles, you need to review your policy to see if it allows Cigna to take an offset for Va benefits. If so I believe they are permitted to do so.

    Rachel Alters Aug 9, 2020  #18

  • I am going to LTD August 16. I am DAV and Cigna is saying their going to reduce my weekly benefits because I have a va pension. I thought a Texas court overturned that law ago. I’m highly offend that Cigna is wanting this info. I thought I didn’t have to disclose my DAV status to anyone.

    Charles T. Aug 9, 2020  #17

  • Seo: I suggest you contact the VA to determine what benefits would be available to deceased Veterans’ dependents.

    Jay Symonds Mar 20, 2020  #16

  • Survivors and dependent children may also apply for a PSC that the Veteran could have applied for prior to their death, and they may receive a lump sum amount if approved. Are there additional amounts for Veteran Dependants such a spouse or dependent child in the case of the death of a Veteran?

    Seolearnbd Mar 20, 2020  #15

  • Peggy, only if you policy states that VA benefits are considered other income. You will need to review the policy to determine this.

    Rachel Alters Nov 24, 2019  #14

  • I have been receiving LTD benefits. I have been granted VA spousal survivor’s benefits back to 2015. Will I have to pay Liberty mutual (now Franklin financial) back money they paid me like they did social security backpay for short term disability payments?

    Peggy Nov 24, 2019  #13

  • 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.

    Jay Symonds Jul 15, 2019  #12

  • 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

    Jack B. Jul 15, 2019  #11

  • 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.

    Jay Symonds Jun 4, 2019  #10

  • 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?

    Gerry A. Jun 4, 2019  #9

  • 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.

    Cesar Gavidia Apr 29, 2019  #8

  • 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.

    Richard G. Apr 29, 2019  #7

  • 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.

    Rachel Alters Jul 14, 2018  #6

  • 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?

    Brock A. Jul 13, 2018  #5

  • 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.

    Alex Palamara Mar 7, 2018  #4

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

    Adrian Mar 6, 2018  #3

  • George,

    “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.

    Stephen Jessup Mar 25, 2014  #2

  • 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.

    George Gridley Mar 24, 2014  #1

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