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Social Security serves those who have served

On November 11, the United States honors the nation’s veterans for their service to America.

What better time than now to tell you - and for you to help spread the word - about the many benefits and wealth of information Social Security has available for veterans and military personnel?

Social Security recognizes those who put their lives on the line for freedoms. Members of the armed forces receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability applications.

The expedited process is available for any military service member disabled during active duty on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. Some dependent children and spouses of military personnel may also be eligible to receive benefits.

Visit the Social Security website designed specifically for wounded veterans: www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

There, you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits available under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Please pay special attention to the fact sheet available on the website, Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors.

You’ll also find a webinar that explains the faster disability process available to wounded warriors. The program covers general information about Social Security disability benefits as well as topics unique to wounded service members. The online video is less than three minutes and a great introduction to disability benefits for veterans and active duty military.

On the same webpage, you’ll also find links to useful Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense websites. Social Security disability requirements are different from the Department of Veterans Affairs requirements and require a separate application.

Military service members are covered for the same Social Security survivors, disability and retirement benefits as everyone else.

Although the expedited service is relatively new, military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957, and people who were in the service prior to that may be able to get special credit for some of their service.

To learn more about Social Security for current and former military service members, read “Military Service and Social Security”. It’s available in our digital library at socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

But first, take a look at the wounded warrior page at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. The webinar, factsheet and pertinent links will brief you on everything you need to know to maneuver your way through the Social Security process.

Ed Evans is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Seattle

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