For the millions of disabled veterans who are applying for disability benefits, there is hope of faster processing times for their payments. The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act (HR 6445), a bipartisan bill proposed by Reps. Glenn Thompson, (R-PA) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), would eliminate the customary five month waiting period between the claim approval and the first disability check for active-duty, Reserve and National Guard service members who were injured during combat.
Out of the 1.6 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 45% are applying for injury related compensation, compared to the 21% of veterans from the Gulf War in the 1990s, and they’re not just suffering from one or two ailments. Most cases average eight or nine; some suffer from as many as 14. Almost a third of veterans have already been granted their benefits, but there is still an enormous backlog of people waiting for help.
“Our service members who have been wounded defending our country should not have to wait for benefits or face financial hardship. They should be able to focus on their recovery, not delays in their benefits,” Loebsack commented. In addition to the bipartisan support, veterans organizations such as The Disabled Veterans National Foundation, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Afghanistan Veterans of America are all standing behind the bill. Currently, it is still in committee.
Disabled veterans may file for SSDI as well as benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), but the claim process may differ. If you are applying for benefits or have been denied and looking to appeal, consulting with a qualified disability lawyer who is knowledgeable about both processes may be an important decision for a positive outcome.