With decades of military service men and women serving overseas, it is promising to see the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability program help those who have served our country. This program is called the Wounded Warriors Disability Program and is designed to expedite their disability claims so they can start getting benefits as soon as possible.
Anyone who has served on active duty from October 1, 2001, and on; and was injured at any time either overseas or closer to home, will get priority disability claim processing. These benefits shouldn’t be confused with your Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) benefits. There are some aspects of the program that should be considered, and we are going to break that down below.
What You Need to Apply
While the processing time will be faster than most transactions at the SSA office, the application isn’t “easy” per se. If whenever you don’t understand what you will need to apply, your best action would be to work with a Social Security Disability lawyer who can help you through this process. Here is the list of items you will likely need, but there could be additional things they request depending on your unique situation.
- Your Medical Records
- Social Security Numbers (yours, spouse and children)
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship
- W-2 Form
- Military Pay Proof
- Banking Information
- DD 214 Forms (if discharged)
Options for Filing
You can qualify for the SSA benefits and the DVA benefits at the same time. Qualifying doesn’t necessarily come down to using one or the other. Additionally, within SSA, you can apply for two different benefits.
- The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – Benefits that are based on your work history and how much you have paid into the SSA system.
- The second is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – Which is based on what you need financially above and beyond the income you receive.
The Medical Qualifications Needed to Apply
The SSA defines a disabled person if they are unable to work based on medical conditions that have been recorded with a qualified physician. The condition must prevent you from functioning at a basic level daily, to be considered. Here are the other points to take into account in your SSA filing.
- Your disability is expected to persist or exist at least one year or longer.
- If you are seeking medical treatment and are on active duty, you can still apply. Active status doesn’t mean you are unable to receive benefits.
- A Wounded Warrior can apply either while still in the military or post-discharge.
- The treatment program isn’t specific, and it can include rehab, hospitalizations, or outpatient treatments.
- Treatment can be sought either through military resources, such as a VA hospital or at a standard civilian medical facility.
You can apply for the Wounded Warrior SSA benefits by walking into their offices at your closest location. You should identify yourself as military immediately so the SSA official can treat your case with an expedited hand. If this feels overwhelming, you can also reach out to a lawyer who specializes in this type of legal work and they can help you collect everything you’ll need and process your claim.