The recent wars and conflicts abroad have taken a great economic toll on our nation. Even more troubling, are the fate of tens of thousands of U.S. troops who have returned home suffering physical, mental and emotional injuries. In many cases, injuries sustained in military combat prevent former military service men and women from working. As such, many turn to benefits provided under social security disability to make ends meet.
In recent years, the Obama administration has been called upon to deal with mounting problems associated with the disability application and determination process for U.S. veterans. Most complaints are related to long wait times that may result in an injured veteran waiting nearly two years before learning whether or not he or she qualifies to receive SSD benefits.
According to a recent report published by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the number of veterans waiting more than 365 days to receive SSD benefits has risen more than 2,000 percent since 2009. This number, however, is due in large part to the fact that many more troops, many of which are disabled, are now returning home.
Statistics related to the rise in the number of disability benefit claims among U.S. veterans prove this point, as an estimated 480,000 such claims were processed in 2001. Over the course of the last three years, more than one million disability claims for U.S. veterans have been processed each year.
This dramatic increase in the number of disability claims, has resulted in a backlog of claims and lengthy determination process. While veterans await news of whether or not they qualify for disability benefits, many struggle to make ends meet. In response, President Obama recently pledged to continue efforts to expedite the disability benefits applications of U.S. veterans.
Veterans and civilians who plan to apply for disability benefits are often unprepared for the complex and lengthy application process. What’s more, if a claim is denied, many lack the resources and knowledge to appeal the denial. For these reasons, it’s often wise for such individuals to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles matters related to social security disability benefits.
Source: CNN, “Obama says backlog reduced in veterans’ disability claims,” Michael Martinez, Aug. 10, 2013