December 8, 2016
The effect of military service can be profound and everlasting. Individuals returning from the Armed Forces may suffer financially, socially and/or health-wise. If you or someone you know has a compensation rating of 100% P & T (permanent and total disability), the following information can help in supporting your journey to Social Security disability benefits.
For general questions regarding Social Security disability benefits, view the previous article here.
What benefits are available for veterans?
There are two programs to be aware of. The Social Security disability insurance program pays benefits to you and specific members of your family if you are insured, or have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. The second option, the Supplemental Security Income program, pays benefits according to financial need.
Can the process be expedited?
Military service members can receive expedited processing of disability claims so long as the military service member has become disabled while on active military service on or before October 1, 2001. The location of where the disability occurred does not matter here.
Does military pay affect eligibility for disability benefits?
Active duty status and receipt of military pay does not necessarily solely prevent payment of benefits. If you are receiving treatment at a military medical facility and working in a designated therapy program, or on limited duty, your work activity will be evaluated and from there, your eligibility will be determined.
What if I remain on active duty?
You may receive Social Security disability benefits and remain on active duty. It is pertinent, however that you immediately contact Social Security if there is a change in any of the following:
- Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS)
- Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC)
- Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC)
Another time to contact Social Security is when a PCS occurs, or a permanent change of station. A PCS is another indicator that you’re going back to work, therefore it is necessary to contact Social Security. Changes in your work status may affect your benefits so it’s important to call even if you’re unsure.
What’s the next step?
If/when you return to work, the Social Security Administration will receive a notification. It will then perform a work continuing disability review. During the review, the SSA will look to see if you are completing substantial work. In 2013, the considering factor for substantial work came to monthly earnings of over $1,040, or $1,740 if blind. Keep in mind this amount changes from year-to-year.
Let the SSA know whether you are in a designated work therapy program or whether you are assigned limited duty as a result of your disability. The SSA cannot properly evaluate your work and your benefits may be suspended or terminated if you are not clear or honest about a designated work therapy program.
Applying for Social Security is a complex process and is best handled with the assistance of those who have extensive experience with such. For more information regarding veterans seeking benefits, contact the Social Security disability attorneys at Disability Associates LLC. today.