Can military personnel secure benefits for a past disability?

As a nation, we want to do everything in our power to reward the sacrifice made by those courageous individuals who serve in our nation’s armed forces. To that end, we offer those servicemembers who suffered some manner of injury much-needed benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Furthermore, we also offer them the opportunity to secure disability benefits via the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, as well as expedited processing of their applications if their disabling medical condition was sustained while on active duty anytime on or after October 1, 2001.

While most servicemembers are well aware of this ability to secure disability benefits for a longstanding medical condition, what they might not be aware of is the ability to secure disability benefits for a medical condition from which they’ve since recovered.

Indeed, the SSDI program dictates that servicemembers may be able to secure benefits for what is known as a “closed period of disability” provided they meet the following requirements:

  • They are able to submit medical evidence demonstrating that they were once unable to perform substantial work for a continuous 12-month timeframe.
  • They file the application for benefits for the closed period of disability within 14 months of the disability ending.

If these requirements are met and a five-month waiting period applied beginning with the first full month of the disability, the servicemember is eligible for up to 12 months of retroactive benefits from the date the application is filed.

It’s important not to feel overwhelmed if any of this information seems confusing. The reality is that the process of securing benefits for a closed period of disability is inherently complex and, as such, those servicemembers with any questions should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

Practice Areas

Military Law
Family Law
Social Security Disability
Worker’s Compensation
Personal Injury