As we celebrate this Veterans’ Day in Knoxville, it’s important to remember those who gave their health or even their lives in service to our country. Some veterans who return from war have suffered disabling injuries or illnesses and are unable to work. Fortunately, there are two governmental benefits programs in place via the Social Security Administration (SSA) which may be of help to some wounded warriors.
One of these programs Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI.) .These benefits may be available to qualifying individuals who have worked for a certain period of time, and thus have paid into the Social Security system via their taxes. The other program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is based on an individual’s financial needs. Keep in mind that SSA benefits are different from Veterans Administration benefits.
Under either SSDI or SSI, in order to obtain benefits, one must meet the SSA’s definition of what it means to be disabled. To be considered disabled, an individual must not be able to undergo any substantial work due to his or her disability, and this must last for at least 12 months or the individual’s condition must be fatal. When determining whether an individual qualifies for benefits, the SSA will examine whether or not the individual was able to perform the same occupational activities he or she did prior to becoming disabled, and whether or not his or her disability makes it impossible for him or her to perform new types of work.
Moreover, if a veteran is disabled while he or she was in active military duty or he or she became disabled on or after October 1, 2001, his or her application might be expedited. In addition, the service member’s military pay will not be a very big factor in determining whether he or she is eligible for disability benefits. What counts is what types of work (if any) the applicant is able to perform.
In the end, disability benefits may be a key factor in helping veterans wounded in war meet their financial needs if they can no longer work. Veterans with further questions about how SSD benefits or SSI can help them can consult with a disability benefits attorney for advice.
Source: MarketWatch, “Social Security benefits for wounded vets,” Jeff Rose, Dec. 3, 2016