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Harry Bernstein Nov. 20, 2017

Each November, we observe Veterans Day, honoring those who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans deserve this honor for the service they’ve given our country - and they deserve our support as well! That’s why the Social Security Administration offers multiple tools to help Wounded Warriors, from expedited processing of social security disability applications for veterans to assistance in integrating back into the workforce. If you’re an Ohio veteran (or related to one), read on to discover what disability benefits you may be qualified to receive. 


Veterans in Ohio can apply to each of the SSA’s benefit programs, which are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to qualify for disability payments via SSDI, you must have worked a certain number of years in a job that paid social security taxes. Then you must meet the SSA’s very strict and specific definition of disability: you must no longer be able to do the work you did before becoming disabled, you must not be able to adjust to another type of work due to your disability, and your disability must be expected to last at least one year (or to result in your death). To qualify for SSI disability payments as an adult under 65, you must never have been married and you must apply for SSDI at the same time. You must also have extremely limited income and resources as defined by the SSA. 

I know winning disability benefits sounds difficult, but don’t worry - a disability attorney in Cleveland, Ohio like myself can help you with the process, and the SSA has processes in place to help veterans. Even if you are still receiving pay from the military, you should apply for disability benefits when facing a disabling condition. Just because you’re being paid doesn’t mean you won’t be eligible for some amount of disability. The Social Security Administration can evaluate your work activity and income easily while you’re being treated at a military medical facility, working through a therapy program, or even if you’re back on light duty. Also, if you experienced a period of disability but have since gotten better, you could still receive benefits - so long as you filed for disability during that time period and met their conditions, you may receive payments for a closed period of disability. So always file - don’t assume you’ll be denied and miss out on much-needed help! 


One process the Social Security Administration has in place to help Ohio veterans is through expedited processing of disability claims. If you become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, your disability claim will benefit from faster review - and you get this service regardless of whether your disability occurred while deployed or at home. Of course, in order to get the maximum benefit from this expedited process, you must be thoroughly prepared. 

You must indicate to the SSA that you were on active military duty when the disability happened. Then it’s a matter of keeping all your information immediately up-to-date and filed with the SSA, which is another instance in which a disability attorney in Ravenna, Ohio, can be helpful. Dealing with disability is a full-time concern in and of itself; having to ensure records are coordinated with multiple government offices is another job on top of that! Having assistance during this time is key. The SSA will need access to all relevant medical information, including lists of doctors seen and the address of the military site housing your records. If there are any changes to your condition or if you see a different doctor or start a different treatment, you must immediately inform the SSA as well. So long as the SSA has prompt and complete records on your disability, they will expedite your Social Security disability claim through all phases of review in their offices and at Disability Determination Services (DDS).


The SSA’s support of veterans doesn’t stop with much-needed SSDI or SSI disability payments either! You’re automatically enrolled for Medicare coverage after you’ve been on disability for two years. Your family can also receive benefits in certain situations: they may be eligible, if you have a spouse who’s 62 or older, a spouse who cares for your child under 16 (or disabled), unmarried children younger than 18 or 19, or unmarried children older than 18 if they had a disability that began before they reached 22 years of age. 

The Social Security Administration also has extensive programs in place to help Ohio veterans transition back into the workforce if they’re able. They offer a work incentive program which allows you to experiment with working to see if your condition allows you to work - while still receiving your disability benefits. They also offer assistance with rehabilitation, education, and training that may permit you to do meaningful work. There are many resources available for you to read on SSA’s Veterans website.

Remember: as a veteran in Ohio, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Your Cleveland, Ohio community supports you, and the Social Security Administration is there to offer support as well. I know disability can be a difficult and overwhelming process - which is why I am a disability attorney in Ravenna, Ohio. I believe in working hard to get our veterans the maximum disability benefits they can receive. Are you ready to apply for social security disability? Contact Me Now