Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Disabled Veterans and the Wait for Disability Benefits to begin

The following article "Talking veterans down from despair" states that vets may be as much as twice as likely to commit suicide as the general adult population. And vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have a one in five likelihood of developing Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Here are some statistics I found fairly compelling: more than six hundred thousand veterans are waiting to have their disability benefits started and they wait, on average, more than six months for their benefits.

Six months is definitely too long. I wish the article cited more specific stats than the ones given. I mean, what does "more than six months" mean? It would have been better to state (had the writer had access to more statistical information) which percentage were still waiting for their benefits at the 9 month mark, 12 month mark, and so on.

Individuals who file applications for social security disability and applications for SSI have a very tough road ahead (most claims are denied at the intial claim level and most are also denied at the first appeal level, the request for reconsideration, making it necessary to file for a disability hearing----total wait time can easily reach three years) and, so, its not at all surprising that veterans would face similar problems.

The truth is, the federal government does not view the awarding of disability benefits as anything other than a burden, one that they would prefer to minimize their responsibility to deliver on. Is it a responsibility? I would say it certainly is, a solemn one. Individuals in the military volunteer for service with the assumption that they will receive fair consideration in the event they become disabled. Likewise, non-military citizens have a right to expect that the FICA contributions they have made over the years to the social security system will allow them to draw social security disability benefits should they become disabled and unable to work.

It's fairly obvious that the system does not work properly. Without a doubt, it does not work expeditiously. And when one is faced with dire financial circumstances because disability benefit processing moves at a crawl, the system does not work fairly.

Here's that link: Talking Veterans Down From Despair

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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