Thursday, April 17, 2014

Social Security Launches Expedited Veteran Disability Process

Kristina Derro, Esq.
Veterans Disability Lawyer

The government has launched a new process to expedite Social Security disability claims for a special category of veterans, the Social Security Administration announced Tuesday, March 18.

Under the new process, Social Security claims from veterans with a Veterans Affairs Department disability compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total will be treated as high priority, and qualifying veterans will receive expedited decisions.

However, the VA rating does not guarantee an approval for Social Security benefits; it only ensures the process will be expedited for those veterans. The veterans still must meet the strict eligibility requirements for a disability allowance.

Carolyn Colvin, acting Social Security commissioner, said the new process is similar to the way the agency currently handles disability claims from wounded warriors.

"We have reached another milestone for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and this process ensures they will get the benefits they need quickly," Colvin said in a news release. "While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifices, we can be sure we provide them with the quality of service that they deserve. This initiative is truly a lifeline for those who need it most."

To receive the expedited service, veterans must tell Social Security they have a VA disability compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total and must show proof of their disability rating with their VA notification letter.

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who introduced legislation in Congress to promote the initiative, praised the change.

“No one wants to put America’s veterans through a bureaucratic runaround,” he said in the release. “As the baby boomer generation ages and more veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need care, this common sense change will help reduce backlogs and cut through unnecessary red tape so that our most disabled veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned.”

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