With Memorial Day just behind us, it is a good time to consider the unique issues facing our veterans receiving or applying for social security disability. Many of our younger veterans have survived the global war on terror, and returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, although not unscathed. Many are returning home only to deal with permanent disabilities, both physical and mental or emotional. Post-traumatic stress and loss of limbs are, unfortunately, not uncommon. As a result of our times, social security disability for veterans has become a very important topic.
Problems many veterans face with Social Security
While some of our wounded soldiers return home on a medical discharge, some actually leave the military with no benefits. Although the primary source of medical benefits for veterans is supposed to be the Veterans Administration, the VA has dealt with numerous problems in recent years. For example, last year, CNN reported that at least 19 veterans had died in VA hospitals, allegedly because of serious delays in diagnosis and treatment. As a result, many veterans are looking to the Social Security Administration for the medical benefits they now require.
When will I know if my application was approved?
There is no way to predict how long it will take for a decision to be reached on any disability claim. Typically, it takes anywhere from a month to a year to receive notice of a decision. Social Security agencies do not have established deadlines for decisions, hearings or appeals. An initial disability claim can take, on average, 3 to 4 months to reach a decision. Reconsideration, the first level of appeal if your claim is initially denied, can take about the same length of time.
Expedited claims processing for veterans
The good news is, the Social Security Administration has started expediting the disability claims process for disabled veterans. Current service members, who are disabled and were injured since October 1, 2011, are eligible for the expedited service. Claims for veterans who have received a 100% disability rating from the Veterans Administration are also expedited.
Veterans are not guaranteed approval, however
Don’t be fooled, however. Only the application process for these veterans is expedited. They still have the same chance of being awarded disability benefits as anyone else. Regrettably, that means, with the Social Security Administration’s rate of denying more than half of all applications, the expedited process may only mean veterans will be denied sooner.
How to apply for SSDI, if you are a veteran
The Social Security disability application process can be overwhelming, but with the help of an experienced disability attorney, a veteran’s chance of being awarded the benefits they deserve, can increase considerably. Most applications are denied at first, which means applicants must request a reconsideration or appeal. Your Social Security Disability attorney can also help you with this process.
If you have questions regarding veterans’ disability claims, or any other disability issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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