vet

Injured veterans and active military members may be eligible for disability benefits though the Social Security Administration.

Dear Editor,

Every year on Veterans Day, we honor the people who risk their lives to protect our country. Our disability program is an important part of our obligation to wounded warriors and their families.

Social Security is an important resource for military members who return home with injuries. If you know a wounded veteran, please let them know about our Wounded Warriors webpage. You can find it at www.ssa.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors webpage answers many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

We apply our expedited process for military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits.

We honor veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the respect they deserve. Let these heroes know they can count on us when they need us most. They earned these benefits. Our webpages are easy to share on social media and by email with your friends and family. Please consider passing this information along to someone who may need it.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we could not receive visitors at our field office except for previously arranged appointments on special limited critical situations. However, we continue providing our services by phone and internet. If you have questions on Social Security benefits and services, please access www.socialsecurity.gov. You could also access our automated services at 1-800-772-1213 or call your local Social Security office Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To locate the telephone number of your local field office, please input your residential zip code on the following link: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.

— Victor R. Rodriguez is the spokesperson for the Social Security Administration in Puerto Rico.