21 May Social Security Disability for Veterans
Most veterans are aware of the benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a result of a disabling condition. These benefits are often critical for a means of income for the veteran and his or her family. In addition to VA disability benefits, a veteran may also obtain benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers benefits for wounded warriors and veterans with a disability compensation rating of 100%.
The SSA provides an expedited application process for military members who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 10, 2001. It is important to note that SSA benefits are separate from VA benefits. Benefits under the SSA take the form of either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A person can obtain SSDI benefits if they have a long enough work history. SSI is based upon the financial need of the individual.
Wounded Warriors and Vets
A wounded warrior’s claim is sent to a state disability determination services (DDS) office that makes disability decisions. The DDS office may request that the veteran submits to a medical examination or test. In addition, the DDS office will contact the veteran’s doctors and any facilities in which the veteran received treatment to obtain the medical records of the veteran.
It is important to note that, even for a veteran who receives a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P&T), a separate determination of disability must be made by the SSA in order to receive Social Security benefits.
Under the SSA, a person is considered disabled if:
- He or she is unable to perform substantial work as a result of the medical condition(s); and
- The medical condition(s) must have lasted or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.
It is important to note that receiving VA benefits has no impact on the eligibility to receive SSA benefits.
In order to receive the expedited process, the veteran must:
- Identify themselves as a 100% disabled veteran; and
- Provide the VA notification letter which verifies the 100% P&T rating to the SSA.
For both wounded warriors and 100% P&T veterans, the length of the process will vary, depending on the following:
- The nature of the disability
- The speed of obtaining medical evidence from the veteran’s doctor or other medical sources
- Whether a medical exam is needed
Medicare coverage is automatically provided to a disabled veteran after he or she has received disability benefits for 24 months.
Helping our Nation’s Veterans
If you have suffered a disabling condition as a result of your military service, there are several potential benefits that you may be eligible for. For more information about these benefits and to discuss your potential claims, you should contact an experienced disabilities law attorney. At the Klok Law Firm LLC, we proudly help our service members obtain these critical benefits.