Those who volunteer for service in the U.S. military give up a lot just by enlisting. If they wind up getting hurt or wounded while on active duty -- whether in a combat zone or not -- their sacrifice is that much greater. Considering all that, they should not have to endure a process of seeking disability compensation that can amount to the worst obstacle course they've ever had to run.
Though we hold the hope that it is not intentional, the processes of securing needed and deserved disability benefits can be a challenge. At the very least it can be confusing because of the various types of benefits that may be available and the way they are funded. Some are handled through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but additional benefits may be available through Social Security Disability Insurance.
Understanding the two systems and how and where they intersect is critical to maximizing possible aid. Without an experienced attorney's help, it can be overwhelming.
On the bright side, there are efforts being made to try to speed up the processes on the SSDI side of things. For example, as the AARP observes, since this past March, the Social Security Administration has been implementing a program that expedites the applications of the most seriously wounded service people.
It has to be stressed that the program is only open to veterans with a condition that has been rated by the VA as being 100 percent permanent and total. The agency makes no promise of how quickly it might push an application through the system, and the pledge of speedier consideration does not guarantee benefits will be approved.
Application denials and long appeals can and should be expected.