Veteran's Social Security Disability Claims Increasing
The USA Today reported recently that national payments for veterans with disabilities has risen substantially in the last decade. More specifically, while in 2000 there were annual payments of abut $14.8 billion, by 2011 that total had nearly tripled to just shy of $40 billion annually. It doesn't take much analysis to understand the cause for the rise. In 2000, the U.S. was not at war, but starting in 2001, the country entered two different conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the report, the nation currently has about 22.2 million veterans-about 15% of that group (3.4 million) were disable in some way connected to their service. This includes those who served in all of the nation's conflicts, dating back to the Second World War. Yet, while the total payments include those harmed over the past many decades, the recent rise has been quite significant and tied directly to fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there more to the story? The article suggests that the sharp rise in disability claims is not only caused by more service members. Part of the rise is also attributed to compensation being provided for more ailments and veterans who more directly seek to receive the benefits that they have earned. All told, the most recent data suggests that nearly half of veterans who served in the two wars filed claims seeking disability compensation. An examination of compensation for veterans of different wars shows how our understanding of combat related injuries and expansion of services provided. For example, veterans of the WWII generation generally received support for an average of 2.3 conditions. That rose to an average of 3.5 conditions for those in service during Vietnam. Today veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan average 6 conditions for which they are compensated. All told, this increase led to a 40% rise in annual payouts today as compared to only ten years ago–before the two recent wars. Understanding Social Security Claims Many are unfamiliar with how program benefit rules apply in these situations. In general, the compensation is based on specific injury. For example, the USA Today story notes that “the most common conditions reported by current generation vets are joint, ligament and vertebral disc problems from carrying body armor.” These all are considered “musculoskeletal impairments” for SS purposes. That doesn't end the matter though. Once the specific injury is identified, an analysis must be performed to determine the extent that the injury impairs “substantial gainful activity.” This essentially means that Social Security disability will only be granted to those who,because of their impairments are unable to earn slightly more than $1,000 a month. This is not necessarily a high bar, and so much confusion and wrangling often centers on this requirement. Social Security Disability Lawyer All those who have suffered injury which might qualify them for benefits to help provide support and stability should seek out a SSD attorney for help navigating the system. It is not uncommon to find yourself in a bureaucratic nightmare when working through the process. A legal professional can provide much needed clarity and ensure you are working as efficiently as possible to reach your goal.