As thousands of American troops return home from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, many are discovering their lives will never be the same. Plagued by physical, mental and emotional injuries that have left them permanently disabled, applications for disability benefits are at an all time high.
Unfortunately, many of these troops are learning firsthand the difficulties associated with filing disability claims. One former Army sergeant recounts how injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan have left him with chronic back pain that makes it difficult to walk. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury that has greatly affected his memory and caused him to suffer severe headaches and vertigo.
In addition to the physical injuries he sustained, he is reeling from the emotional toll suffered as a result of his multiple tours. Plagued by severe depression and anxiety, he has been formally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
His injuries have left him permanently disabled and unable to work. Additionally, his PTSD has left him so anxious and emotionally distraught that he requires constant care and supervision. His wife and primary caretaker, therefore, is also unable to work. The couple and their daughter are currently forced to live with family.
Despite the former Army sergeant's obvious injuries and disabilities, several of his claims have been denied as he believes he did not fill out the necessary forms correctly. He is currently attempting to appeal the denial of disability benefits, but fears his claims will never be approved.
Sadly, this man's current situation is shared by many U.S. veterans. The process of applying for disability benefits can be confusing and complex. Individuals already grappling with emotional, physical and mental disabilities as a result of their injuries may find the process particularly difficult.
It's wise, therefore, for individuals planning to file for disability benefits to enlist the assistance of a skilled social security disability attorney. Likewise, individuals who have already been died benefits and plan to appeal can greatly benefit by having a SSDI attorney on their side.
Source: CNN, "Hundreds of thousands of war vets still waiting for health benefits," Randi Kaye and Scott Bronstein, Oct. 4, 2012