2008-05-23 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Remembering Those Who Serve
By Guest Columnist Michael J. Astrue Commissioner of Social Security

With Memorial Day approaching, I think it's important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We at Social Security honor the heroism and courage of our military service members and mourn for those who have given their lives in defense of freedom.

It is also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have recently been wounded.

That's why I'd like to take this opportunity to remind readers that military service members receive expedited processing of their disability applications from Social Security. In fact, under an agreement initiated by Social Security, the Department of Defense now transmits information to us 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 members who become disabled during active duty on or after October 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 website designed specifically for you: www.socialsecurity.gov/ woundedwarriors. 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 (SSI). Please pay special attention to the fact sheets available on that website titled Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors and Expediting Disability Applications for Wounded Warriors.

You'll also find links to useful VA websites, such as the "Seamless Transition Home" link, and the "Veterans Online Application" website.

This Memorial Day, join me as I honor those who gave their lives for our nation, and salute those who served as well as those who continue to serve.

To learn more about what Social Security is doing to serve wounded warriors, visit www.socialsecurity. gov/woundedwarriors. For the families of service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Social Security survivors benefits may be payable. To learn more about eligibility for survivors benefits, visit www socialsecurity.gov/survivorplan.

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