The Social Security Administration administers two main benefits programs: Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Soldiers, veterans and wounded warriors may be able to qualify for one or both of these programs depending on their unique circumstances and injuries. Social Security benefits can provide cash payments to veterans who are unable to continue working due to the severe injuries such as brain or spinal injuries they sustained while on base or on active duty. However, to receive Social Security benefits through either program, you must meet the program and medical requirements.
For more than 20 years the Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak has fought for Arkansans in Fort Smith, Bentonville, and beyond who have been injured at work or while serving their country. We are proud to work with and assist veterans and wounded warriors with their Social Security benefit claims.
Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors & Veterans with a VA Compensation of 100% P&T
While the program began in in March of 2014, those veterans who have been declared to be rated 100% permanent & total disability or a wounded warrior may be eligible for expedited SSI and SSD application processing. However even a 100% P&T rating does not automatically qualify you for Social Security benefits. To satisfy the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability one must have a condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Furthermore, you must be unable to perform what the SSA considered to be substantial work due to your disability. For 2014, the permitted amount of monthly substantial gainful activity is $1,070 for individuals with a qualifying disability or $1,800 for applicants who are blind. However, not all income is counted in this calculation. For instance, any compensation you receive from the VA does not affect your Social Security benefits. An experienced Social Security attorney can help you determine you monthly income and whether it exceeds the monthly limit.
The expedited process is only available to those wounded warriors who became disabled while on active duty after October 1, 2001. To request expedited processing of your Social Security benefits application you or your attorney must identify you as a “veteran rated 100% P&T”. Then, you must provide the SSA with the letter you received from the Department of Veterans Affairs that identifies you as being rated 100% P&T. Failure to provide this information will result in your application being processed normally.
Can I Receive Retroactive Benefits If My Condition Has Improved?
In general, benefits for a past disability are available provided that you had a qualifying disability and met program requirements. These benefits may be available even if your condition has improved to the point where the SSA would no longer find you currently disabled. To qualify for closed benefit period, one with an explicit start and end date, you must be able to show your inability to engage in substantial gainful activity for 12 months or more. The application must be filed within 14 months of the end of the alleged disability. Finally, there is a five-month waiting period before you can receive up to 12 months of retroactive disability benefits. Despite the limitations on retroactive benefits, they can provide military families with the cash assistance they need to make ends meet.
Is My Family Also Eligible for Benefits?
While it is impossible to say if your particular situation would result in benefits being extended to your family members, there are some general situations where extended benefits may be applicable. These eligible family members can include:
- Your spouse at any age if he or she is the caretaker of your child who is disabled or younger than age 18.
- Your spouse if he or she is age 62 or greater.
- Your unmarried child if he or she is under age 18.
- Your unmarried child who is older than age 18 if he or she has a disability with an onset prior to age 22.
While other situations where family members can receive benefits through your past work exist, these are the main situations where it can occur.
Our Disability Attorneys Can Help Arkansas Veterans
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has fought for Arkansans who have become injured or disabled due to their occupation or military service. To schedule your free and confidential consultation contact the disability benefits lawyers at the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak today by calling (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.
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