Disability benefits for wounded warriors are available through Social Security but are entirely different from those made available through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Because Social Security disability is based on a person’s inability to work, military members must prove that their condition is severe enough that substantial work cannot be completed. The medical condition must last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
An expedited process is available for military service members to receive Social Security Disability Insurance if he or she became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001. No matter where the disability occurred, these military members and their families can receive full disability benefits if they’ve worked long enough paying Social Security taxes.
Unlike those who will not receive benefits once the condition has improved, military members can request disability benefits for a period of disability that has already happened.
The following must happen to be eligible for Closed Period of Disability benefits:
- It must be proven with medical evidence that a military member was unable to substantially work for a continuous period of 12 months
- The application must be filed within 14 months of the disability’s end date
Should the requirements for the Closed Period of Disability be met, a five-month waiting period is instated.
For example: An application is filed in November of 2015 for a disability period that began in March 2014 and ended in August 2015—this is a closed period of disability. The five-month waiting period would include April to August of 2014.
Past Disability Benefits would then be paid for the months of September 2014 through August 2015, which is a total of 11 months. The first benefits check would be paid in December of 2015.
If a member of the military remains on active duty after filing for disability, he or she can still receive benefits, but must notify Social Security if the MOS code, AFSC, NEC or PCS changes because it may affect the benefits.
Next, learn about the impact that PTSD can have on disabled veterans.