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Expedited SSDI for those injured while on active military duty

Readers of this blog may know that applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), can take some time to be adjudicated in New Jersey. In fact, there are those who wait more than a year fora final determination in their cases. For those who served in the U.S. military, however, and were injured while on active duty, it may be possible for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to expedite applications for these benefits.

First, service members and veterans should understand that SSDI and SSI benefits are different from any benefits they may receive from the Veteran's Administration (VA.) It may be possible for some veterans to receive benefits from both the VA and the SSA for the same injuries, though they each might have an effect on the other benefit's amounts in some circumstances.

To apply for expedited handling of an SSDI or SSI application, according to federal regulations, a military member needs to have been disabled while on active duty after Oct. 1, 2001. It makes no difference where the disabling injury occurred.

The application will be very similar to any other application for disability benefits, though a discharged veteran will need to provide a copy of his or her discharge papers (DD-214), and any proof of military pay being received. It is important for the applicant to let the SSA know as soon as possible that the disability occurred while on active duty, so that the agency can consider expediting the application. To facilitate this, the applicant should provide all medical records he or she can get from both military and civilian sources, as well as the locations where any additional records may be stored. If an applicant remains on active duty, he or she will need to advise the SSA of any change in his or her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or the equivalent, as well as any change in posting.

Those who served their country and were hurt while doing it deserve the utmost respect and care. Service members and veterans who believe they qualify for social security disability due to their injuries may wish to consider contacting an experienced New Jersey disability attorney.

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