The Social Security Administration acknowledges the unique sacrifices made by veterans. Due to this, military service members can sometimes receive expedited processing of disability claims from Social Security. Benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application. The expedited process is used for military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.
In order to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits as a veteran it is important for you and your representation to compile all information and documentation related to your disability. Some standard documents required for applying for Social Security Disability Benefits include:
● Original or certified copy of your birth certificate or proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency if foreign born;
● Form DD 214, if discharged from the military service;
● W-2 Form or income tax return from last year;
● Military or workers’ compensation to include proof of payment;
● Social Security numbers of your spouse and minor children;
● Checking or savings account number, if you have one;
● Name, address and phone number of a contact person, in case you are unavailable; and
● Medical records that you have and/or that you can easily obtain from all military and civilian sources.
With the help of your representative you should compile this information and file your initial application.
After filing your initial application it is critical that you continue to see your doctor and follow their instructions. Whether you are treated at a VA hospital or by a family physician the Social Security Administration will need continuous updates about your medical status. It is important that you and your representative stay in frequent contact with the SSA.
How does military pay affect eligibility for disability benefits?
You can still qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits even if you are receiving military pay! In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits you cannot engage in any substantial work activity, military pay itself does not disqualify you. Your ability to work is what determines your eligibility for benefits so even if you are still on limited duty or undergoing some therapy or rehabilitation program you still may be eligible for benefits.