Social Security disability payments available for military service members

Those who serve our country put their lives and well being on the line to protect our country. Unfortunately, many wounded warriors return home in need of medical care and facing the financial strains that may come with a service-related disability.

While military service members generally know that benefits are available to them from the Department of Veterans Affairs, they should be aware that Social Security disability benefits may be available to them as well.

A separate application

Social Security benefits for wounded warriors are different from, and in addition to, any veterans' benefits available from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and they do require a separate application process.

To be found disabled under the Social Security definition, a military service member must be unable to do substantial work due to their condition, and their condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year. One very important distinction for the Social Security program is that people with partial or short-term disabilities are not eligible.

An expedited process

Military service members can receive expedited processing of their disability claims, if the members became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred.

The time for a member to receive a decision still may vary, depending on factors such as the nature of the disability and any delays related to obtaining medical records.

It's possible to apply for disability benefits while still on active duty status, or after discharge, and if the military service member currently receives military pay, this does not necessarily preclude them from receiving Social Security disability benefits. The military service member's family may also qualify for Social Security benefits, depending on factors such as their age and whether a spouse is caring for a young or disabled child.

What if I'm denied benefits?

Unfortunately, according to the Social Security Administration, denied disability claims have averaged nearly 53 percent between 2001 through 2010. Everything from the complexity of the required forms to the need for specific medical information may contribute to the denial of a claim.

Ohio-based military service members whose Social Security disability claims are initially denied should not be discouraged and may wish to seek assistance from an Ohio law firm focused on handling cases related to Social Security law. If the member has also been denied veterans benefits, a law firm handling both sorts of denied claims may be helpful. Most importantly, military service members should fully pursue their rights until they receive all benefits to which they are entitled for their service.