By Brian Hewitt
TERRE HAUTE — Every day of the year, Americans in the armed forces serve our nation. At Social Security, we honor our nation’s military personnel and all of America’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 transmits information 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 for you by visiting our Web site designed specifically for our wounded veterans: www.
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 Veterans Affairs Web sites. There are links to information about the “Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Home,” information on Survivors Benefits, the Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes, a fact sheet on Veterans benefits, and the Veterans On-Line Application, known as VONAPP.
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. People in the military are covered for the same Social Security survivors, disability and retirement 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 from 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 Social Security benefit and are added to your earnings record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
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 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to ask us to mail a free copy to you.
Every day, the brave men and women of our nation’s armed forces serve us.
Social Security salutes everyone who serves.