Most individuals are aware that when a person files a claim for Social Security Disability, the process can be a long, drawn out affair that often leaves the disabled person and family members living beneath the poverty level, at risk for losing their homes, and barely surviving. In fact, many applications are denied twice, and when that happens, the waiting period for a hearing with a judge can take approximately one year from the date of the most recent appeal. For someone who is unable to work or adequately provide income for their family, that wait can seem like an eternity.

Until recently, military veterans were subject to the same fate as anyone else who had applied for Social Security Disability. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) decided to take action to help ensure that disabled military veterans receive faster processing- an act that will help many retain ownership of their possessions and enable them to remain in their homes. The initiative, which became effective in March of 2014, enables military vets who are 100 percent permanently and totally disabled to experience expedited processing and handling of their Social Security Disability claims.

While both the Veteran’s Administration and Social Security pay benefits to individuals who are disabled, details about each program, including their qualification criteria and processes are very different. Simply qualifying under the VA criteria for being 100 percent permanently and totally disabled will not automatically qualify an individual for disability under Social Security’s definition. In order to be found disabled by Social Security, the individual must:

  • suffer from a medical or mental condition that prevents him or her from performing substantial work, and
  • suffer from a medical or mental condition that has lasted or is expected to last a minimum of one year or result in death.

 Receiving Priority Processing Through Social Security

Regardless of the stage an individual’s SSD Application is in, he or she may still be able to receive expedited processing and handling of a claim. It is essential, however, that the individual notify SSA as soon as a 100 percent permanent and total disability determination is made by VA. A copy of the VA notification or decision letter must also be submitted to SSA for verification purposes. Individuals who have already applied for benefits can simply call and update their claim, while it is recommended that individuals who are initially applying add “Veteran rated 100% P&T” to expedite processing.