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What 'wounded warriors' need to know about securing disability benefits

It's extremely important for those brave men and women who suffered some manner of disabling injury while serving in our nation's armed forces to understand that they may be entitled to more than just the benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Indeed, they may also be able to secure benefits via the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

The SSDI program is structured in such a manner that these "wounded warriors" can receive expedited processing of their disability claims from Social Security Administration staff.

As to which armed forces personnel are eligible for this expedited processing, the SSA offers it to any servicemember who became disabled while on active duty anytime on or after October 1, 2001, irrespective of location.

As to what would constitute a disabling condition for servicemembers, it is the same for them as for any other applicant:

  • He or she must be unable to perform substantial work due to the medical condition; and
  • The medical condition must have lasted or be expected to last for a minimum of one year, or result in death.

One question that servicemembers inevitably have is whether they are able to receive benefits for a prior disability if their health has since improved.

The good news is that receiving disability benefits for a closed period is a possibility.

However, the determination as to whether the servicemember qualifies for a closed period of disability is contingent upon whether the medical condition meets the SSA's disability definition, whether it was filed within a designated window and several other factors.

We'll examine these factors in our next post.

Regardless of whether you served in the military, if you have questions about disability benefits, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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