Every day — but particularly on Veterans Day — Social Security salutes those who have put their lives on the line for our freedom.
Members of the United States armed forces receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability applications. The expedited process is available to any military service member who alleges that he or she became disabled during active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred — at home or in the line of duty. Expedited processing is also available to veterans who have a compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total (P&T) disability, regardless of when the disability occurred. Some dependent children and spouses of military personnel may also be eligible to receive benefits.
Visit our website designed specifically for our wounded veterans, www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors, where you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits available under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Our website includes a fact sheet on the subject: Disability Benefits For Wounded Warriors.
You’ll also find a webinar, “Social Security for Wounded Warriors,” that explains the expedited disability process available to wounded warriors. The one-hour video is an introduction to disability benefits for veterans and active duty military personnel. If you would like more detailed information about the disability process, you can watch our seven-part video series, “Social Security Disability Claims Process,” at www.socialsecurity.gov/socialmedia/webinars.
On the Wounded Warriors webpage, you’ll find links to the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense websites. Please keep in mind that the requirements for disability benefits available through Social Security are different from those of the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.
Military service members are covered for the same Social Security survivors, disability and retirement benefits as everyone else. Although the expedited service is relatively new, military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957, and people who were in the service prior to that year may be able to get special credit for some of their service.
Read our publication, Military Service And Social Security, to learn more. It is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Also, navigate to www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.
Thank you to our nation’s brave veterans. We salute you on Veterans Day, and every day.
YOU CAN HELP AS A REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE
November is Family Caregiver’s Month, a time to thank and acknowledge all of the people who take care of those in need. If you handle the finances of someone who receives benefits from Social Security, or you know someone who may need help managing his or her benefits, you may want to consider applying to be a representative payee.
A representative payee is someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on behalf of a person not capable of managing the funds on his or her own. A representative payee makes sure an individual’s basic needs are met by using the money to provide food, clothing, and shelter for the person and saving any money left over in an interest-bearing account or via savings bonds for the beneficiary’s future needs.
As a representative payee, you must:
- Know the person’s needs so you can decide the best way to meet those needs with the benefits provided;
- Be responsible for letting Social Security know of any changes that may affect the person’s eligibility for benefits or the payment amount; and
- Complete a yearly report of how the funds were spent. (You can do this online.)
If you know someone who receives Social Security or SSI benefits who is not able to manage his or her own finances, the best thing you can do is become familiar with the responsibilities of a representative payee and consider becoming one.
To learn more, read our publication, A Guide For Representative Payees, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs and visit the webpage, “When People Need Help Managing Their Money,” at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee. Social Security will work with you to determine if a payee is needed and who would be best suited to act in that capacity.
Thank you to all of the caregivers out there. And, thank you for considering becoming a representative payee for someone in need.
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.