Monday, March 3, 2014

Social Security Disability for Veterans: An Update

Our office takes great pride in helping disabled veteran’s obtain Social Security Disability Benefits.  Many veterans who are applying for veteran’s disability benefits do not seem to be fully aware that they may also be eligible for SSDI.  In fact, some of the findings made by the VA in a veteran’s disability case may be very persuasive in convincing the Social Security Administration that the Veteran is also eligible for Social Security Disability.   

Veterans who are applying for VA disability benefits should also contact a Social Security Disability Attorney who can evaluate their case and determine whether they should also apply for SSDI.  There are approximately 9.5 military veterans receiving Social Security Disability; which means that almost one in every four adults receiving SSD has served in the military. 

Recently the VA has come under fire due to its large backlog in processing and adjudicating disability claims.  In March 2013, the backlog was estimated to be 600,000, with over 900,000 pending to be processed.  In response to this problem, the Veternan’s Adminstration and the Social Security Administration have enacted the following initiatives:

  • VA Secretary Eric Shinseki claims to be implementing a new automated system to try to get rid of the old inefficient paper based system that has contributed to the backlog.  The VA Secretary has announced that this initiative is yielding positive results and that between March and December 2013, the backlog decreased by 36.5 percent.  However, it is important to point out that over 50 percent of the VA disability claims are still waiting to be processed.
  • Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin has announced a joint initiative with the Department of Veterans Affairs to give high priority to veterans with 100-percent VA disability ratings. This will allow Veterans that have very severe conditions to receive a much faster processing of their SSDI claims.  This new program is supposed to start in just a few weeks.