Missourians who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces should be aware of what benefits they can receive if they are injured. The Social Security Administration has certain benefits that are specifically in place to help wounded warriors. Understanding these benefits is critical to getting them. When there is an issue or confusion with being approved, having legal help is a must.

Those who are seeking disability after military service can get their case expedited. If the person became injured and disabled when they were serving on active duty on Oct. 1, 2001 or thereafter, they can have this expedited process no matter where and when they became disabled. There are two programs that provide for wounded warriors. They are the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

For a person to be found disabled, the criteria for a wounded warrior is the same as it is for a civilian who has an injury, illness or condition and is seeking SSD benefits. He or she cannot be able to do substantial work and the medical condition must last or be expected to last for a minimum of 12 months or result in the person’s death. For those still getting military pay, their status and pay as a member of the military will not automatically stop a wounded warrior from getting SSD benefits. Those who are being treated at a military facility or taking part in a therapy program or serving on limited duty will need to be evaluated to see if they are eligible to get SSD.

The decision is made in the same way as a civilian’s application is decided upon. Evidence must be provided, the medical records must be examined and, if there is a need, special examinations must be done. The disability itself, the medical evidence and how fast it can be accrued, and if a medical examination is needed in addition to the evidence already available are key factors in how long a wounded warrior must wait for an approval.

People who have served the U.S. in the Armed Forces and been injured, become ill or are suffering from a condition should know about the SSD benefits for injury available through the wounded warrior program. A law firm that helps clients with their Social Security disability cases can assist in a case and ensure the former service member is treated fairly and gets the benefits he or she deserves if the requirements are met.