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Understanding SSD benefits for veterans and expedited claims

For New Jersey veterans that have suffered an injury or illness and are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the continuing and problematic backlog of cases can be cause for concern. SSD benefits can be crucial to a person's survival not just for everyday living with paying for a residence and purchasing essentials, but also for receiving the medical care for their issues. Many might not know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has an expedited processing program for veterans who meet the requirements.

If the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation rating is 100 percent Permanent and Total (P&T), expedited processing is available. Veterans who are already having enough trouble with their injuries might have trouble differentiating between how the SSA and Veterans Affairs (VA) addresses disability cases. Both pay benefits to those who qualify, but there is a difference between how eligibility is determined.

If the VA gives a 100 percent P&T, it does not automatically mean there will be SSD benefits. To get disability, the impairment must be severe and expected to last for a minimum of one year, or end in the person's death. It must also be so severe that the person cannot perform substantial work. And, getting compensation from the VA does not affect SSD benefits.

Once a veteran has been rated 100 percent P&T, it is possible to have the benefits expedited. To do so, the veteran must identify him or herself as a veteran who is rated 100 percent P&T, when filing the application. The VA notification letter verifying that rating should be provided to the SSA.

Once the SSA has identified the applicant as a veteran who is 100 percent P&T, the case will be granted high priority status and rushed. The amount of time the person will wait can vary, but the following factors are key: the disability itself; how rapidly the SSA can get medical evidence proving the disability exists; and if the applicant needs to get a medical examination to support the case.

Those who have served our country and been injured or become ill because of it should know that they have the right to get SSD benefits and have their benefits expedited. A lawyer who understands all areas of Social Security Disability can help veterans get their benefits and receive them as quickly as possible.

Source: SSA.gov, "Expedited Processing of Veteran's 100 Percent Disability Claims," accessed on April 3, 2018

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