In celebration of Veterans Day 2014, this post discusses Veterans and Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration does have some programs in place to help veterans applying for Social Security Disability.

Let me preface this post by saying that everyone, veteran or not, must be found disabled under the Social Security Administration’s own standard to receive disability. Many veterans assume because they have been found disabled by the Veterans Administration that they will automatically be found disabled by Social Security. Unfortunately, this is not the case. (For more read the Social Security Disability Process)

The application process for veterans who want to apply for Social Security Disability is the same for any other claimant. Making an appointment with your local Social Security office or filing an application online is the first step. The Social Security’s below programs help to expedite your claim:

Permanent and Total Veterans Initiative – In early 2014, the SSA announced that veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P&T) may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits. When you apply for benefits, you must inform SSA that you are 100% P&T. I would suggest taking a copy of your rating with you when you file.

Wounded Warriors – Military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001 (regardless of where the disability occurred) should receive expedited processing of their claim. Again, informing SSA when you file will give you the most benefit.

Dire Need – If neither of the above two programs apply to you; another way to have your claim expedited is by asking for a dire need. Unfortunately, mental illness is not uncommon to veterans, nor is homelessness.  According to NAMI, veterans make up as much as one-third of the nation’s population of homeless people and each day about 22 veterans die from suicide. While dire needs are not limited to veterans, they can definitely help a vet that lacks food, medical care or shelter.

If you are in this situation there are places that you can go to for help. The first place is, of course, The Veterans Administration. Their phone number is 1-800-827-1000. You can also call your local VA. There are shelters available in North Carolina for the homeless and local mental health facilities may be able to see you before the VA can schedule an appointment.

In my experience, the veterans who need the most help are the least likely to obtain it due to mental illness or housing issues. The most important thing that a veteran (or anyone) can do for their Social Security Disability case is obtain regular medical treatment but this can be the last thing on someone’s mind when they don’t have food or shelter. The Bishop Law Firm represents Social Security Disability clients in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and surrounding areas in NC. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation!

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