Tuesday Dec 02 2008
Your Social Security
Veterans Day and every day, Social Security is serving
By: Angelo Bottoni
Even though Veterans Day was celebrated last month, at Social Security, we honor our nation’s veterans not only on Veterans Day, but every day of the year. In fact, military service members receive expedited processing of their disability applications from Social Security. Under an agreement initiated by Social Security, the Department of Defense now transmits information to us that allows us to quickly identify military personnel injured in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The expedited process is available for any military service member who becomes disabled during active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel also may be able to receive benefits, including dependent children and spouses. If you, or someone you know, were wounded while on active duty in the military, find out more about what Social Security can do by visiting our Web site designed specifically for wounded warriors: www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. There, you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Please pay special attention to the fact sheets available on that Web site, “Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors and Expediting Disability Applications for Wounded Warriors.” You’ll also find links to useful Veteran Affairs Web sites, such as the “Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom Home” link and the “Veterans online application” Web site. Although the expedited service is relatively new, military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Even people in the service before 1957 may receive special credit for some of their service. Military personnel are covered for the same Social Security retirement, disability and survivors’ benefits as everyone else. A person’s Social Security benefit depends on earnings, averaged over a lifetime. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher your Social Security benefit. Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your monthly benefit. To learn more about Social Security for people who have served in the military, read a copy of our publication, “Military Service and Social Security.” You can find it online at www.socialsecurity.gov/-pubs/10017.html, or call us at (800) 772-1213 to ask us to mail a free copy to you. – Angelo Bottoni is the district manager of the Social Security office in Roseville.