Veterans of the U.S. military have a number of services available to them through Veterans Affairs, but these are not necessarily exclusive. Veterans who are unable to work because of illness or injury should be aware they may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. In fact, their status as veterans qualifies them for expedited service in seeking the benefits.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program, also known as SSD, helps people who are no longer able to work due to injury, illness or other conditions. It’s important to note that there is a large list of conditions that can make a person eligible for the benefits, including mental illnesses. This may be of particular interest to veterans, given the high number of veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illness issues.
The process of applying for SSD benefits can be long and frustrating. Most applicants are denied the first time they try. The Social Security Administration requires a lot of documentation to show the extent of an applicant’s condition, and it can take a long time to get everything together to send in with an application. Little mistakes in an application can result in a rejection. Fortunately, the SSA has a well-developed system for applicants to try again through hearings and appeals, but the whole process can take a long time.
Some veterans can get an advantage in the process. The SSA provides expedited processing for veterans who were injured while on active duty. Active duty status, military pay or receipt of other benefits do necessarily disqualify a veteran or member of the military from receiving SSD benefits, although the benefit amount may be reduced.
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help disabled people understand their rights and options for benefits, assist them with applications and advocate for them at hearings.