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  • Social Security Administration Announces Expedited Services for Veterans

    Social Security Administration Announces Expedited Services for Veterans
    The Social Security office wants to help give recognition to the men and women who have helped serve our country by giving those veterans expedited processing of any Social Security disability applications. To receive this service the applicant must have become disabled on or after October 1, 2001, while on active duty.  For some disability circumstances the spouse or child of those military personnel might be eligible for benefits.  The Social Security office has asked for veterans to go to www.socialsecurty.gov/woundedwarriors to find out more information about expedited benefits. Once logged on you will find a three minute introduction video that will walk you through step by step on how to expedite you benefits.  This faster service is for all active duty and military veterans.
    If you are applying for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs this is different than applying for Social Security benefits and you must log onto the Department of Defense and Veterans affairs websites. They are two completely different benefit programs.
    According to the SSA all military personnel whether active or not have the same Social Security disability, retirement and survivors benefits as individuals who are not or have never been in the military.  Since 1957, all individuals in the military have had Social Security disability benefits but the expedited services are a new approach to helping those who have served our country. Little things like getting Social Security benefits faster could ease the burden of many households that are financially and emotionally drained due to a loved one that has a disability.
    Here are some frequently asked questions:

     

    Will a decision on my disability benefits be expedited?
    If you were disabled on or after Oct 1, 2001 the Social Security Administration (SSA) will process your claim faster if the injury happened while on active duty.  If you injury is not in conjunction to any military duty the SSA will still expedite your application. If this is your first time applying for disability you notify the SSA office where your records kept on file and if suffered an injury while you were on active duty. You must also provide evidence that you are indeed an active member of the military.  Your file is marked by the SSA as a Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior (MC/WW) to rush it through the decision process. By marking it as MC/WW this helps to not delay the process.
    Are all Branches of the Military Included?  
    All military branches are eligible for rush claims if their disability happened while on active duty.  Active duty is defined by the following:
    •         Any and all individuals of the military in the Navy, U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard
    •         All active duty military personnel that are in training for the branches of the military above
    •         Any individual in a U.S. Military academy.
    •         Any personnel in the Air Force National Guard or Army who have been given orders to begin military duty by the President during a crisis time of war.
    •         All reservists that are brought up for duty or are in full time training or in military school

    Are there Different Kinds of Disability Benefits Available?
    You can receive one of two types of benefits: Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). If you have been in the military a long time then you would choose the SSDI. If you are new to the military and have little work history then you may apply for SSI.
    Will I get Social Security Benefits if I receive Veterans Benefits?
    No. Once you are approved for disability benefits through the Veteran Administration (VA) this does not ensure you will be approved automatically for Social Security benefits. They are two completely different types of benefits and must be applied for separately.
    What Criteria does the SSA use to Determine Disability?
    Your medical records will be sent to the SSA and reviewed by your doctors and medical providers to determine if you disabled. The SSA must concur that these following factors are correct for you to be approved:
    •    Because of you medical condition this prevents you from having a job
    •    If this condition is expected to last a year or longer or even result in death

    When Applying what Information do I Provide?
    When you apply for disability benefits, you will need to have the following information:
    •    Birth certificate to prove your age
    •    All history of employment
    •    Proof that you are a US citizen or your immigration status
    •    You DD-214 if you were discharged
    •    W-2’s or your previous year’s tax returns
    •    Your military pay history
    •    The Social Security numbers for you, your spouse and minor children
    •    The account information to your bank
    •    All your medical records by any military or civilian doctors

    The more you complete your application is the quicker the decision can be made to give you disability benefits.
    Does my Family get Benefits?
    When the SSA determines that you are eligible then your spouse or dependent child might be eligible as well. To determine if a family member is eligible the following must be met:
    •         If you spouse is 62 or older
    •         If you spouse cares for a child under 16
    •         If you unmarried child is 18 years or under
    •         If you unmarried child 19 or under is in school full time
    •         If your child 18 or older has a disability that happened before they were 22

    To learn more about Social Security for current and former military service members, read Military Service and Social Security. It’s available in at

    www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

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