Are Disabled Military Service Members Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits While on Active Duty?
Members of the military are entitled to Social Security disability while on active duty if they otherwise meet the general qualifications for benefits. For military service members who become disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, Social Security will expedite the processing of their claims. This is true regardless of where the disability occurred.
Social Security disability benefits for military service members are different from benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each benefit program requires a separate application. The eligibility rules that apply generally under the Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs also apply to military service members.
Can A Member of the Military Receive Both Military Pay and Disability Benefits?
A military member who is receiving treatment at a military medical facility and working on limited duty or in a therapy program may be entitled to receive both military pay and Social Security disability benefits. Social Security will evaluate the level of work activity and make a determination whether the service member is also entitled to receive disability benefits. The evaluation will take into consideration the level of work activity, rather than the amount of military pay or duty status, in determining eligibility for disability benefits.
When Should a Disabled Military Service Member Apply for Benefits?
A military service member can apply for Social Security disability benefits any time either while in military status or after he or she is discharged from service. Applications can be filed whether or not the service member is hospitalized, undergoing rehabilitation or is in outpatient treatment, either in a military or civilian medical facility.
For more information about Social Security disability for wounded warriors, click here.