For veterans to have their Social Security disability claim expedited, they must have been a military service member who either became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001. Once the Social Security Administration receives your application for disability benefits and you’ve been identified as a qualifying veteran, they will begin processing the claim, expediting it through. On average an application takes about 3-6 months for a decision to be made on the claim. When a claim is expedited, the amount of time for a decision to be made off of the application will be much less.
Although veterans may be able to have their claims expedited, they still have to meet Social Security’s strict definition of disability. This means, you are unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA, due to your medical condition. The SSA sets SGA at $1,070.00 gross per month. No matter how many hours you work, you cannot earn more than SGA when applying for SSD or SSI benefits. You must also be expected to be out of work for at least 12 months or more due to your condition.
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Veterans who are applying for SSD or SSI through the Social Security Administration, should be aware that this is not considered Veteran’s benefits. SSD is a benefit that an individual pays into through taxes while working. SSI is for individuals who haven’t met the work requirements for SSD but are considered low income. Veteran’s benefits are for those who became disabled while serving in the military or after. Veterans who have been approved for these benefits may also be eligible for SSD or SSI benefits as well. However, just because you have been approved for VA benefits does not mean you will be approved for SSD or SSI benefits automatically. Each process entails different rules and eligibility requirements and are two separate applications.
Whether you plan on applying for Veteran’s or Social Security Disability benefits, you should consider consulting an experienced attorney who understands the process and what you may be eligible for.
For more information on Social Security’s expedite process of veteran’s claims visit ssa.gov.