Will my military service impact my Social Security disability eligibility?

Veterans Saluting an US FlagYour military service mattered, and the Social Security Administration recognizes that. Accordingly, your active duty time in the military counts as employment and will earn you work credits that are essential for a successful Social Security disability benefits claim. However, there are some things you should know before you submit your Social Security disability application.

Social Security Disability Eligibility for Active Duty Military and Veterans

Whether you are a service member or a civilian, you must qualify for disability benefits by proving to the Social Security Administration that:

  • You have a disability. A disability is defined as a condition that keeps you from engaging in substantial gainful activity or working and earning a certain amount of money per month. The specific amount of money changes from year to year.
  • You worked long enough to qualify for benefits. You must have 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You can earn one credit for each quarter of the year worked for a total of four credits per year. Twenty of your work credits must have been earned in the last 10 years. Military service counts toward your work credits.

There is no requirement that your disability occurred while you were on active duty or was in any way related to your military service. Additionally, you may use a combination of military service and other jobs to satisfy your work credits requirement.

Special Rules That Apply to Military Service Members

While the eligibility requirements are the same for civilians and military members, there are some special rules that apply to active duty military and veterans. For example, as a member of the military, you may:

  • Qualify for expedited Social Security disability application processing. If you became disabled while on activity on or after October 1, 2001, or if you have a Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation rating of 100 percent, then your Social Security disability application may be expedited.
  • Receive Social Security disability benefits even if you are still on active duty and receive military pay. However, you still must prove that your disability prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
  • Qualify for other types of benefits. Your Social Security disability eligibility is independent of your Veterans disability benefits eligibility. You may qualify for both types of disability benefits simultaneously if you meet the eligibility requirements for each program.

You deserve the fair disability benefits you’ve earned, and our Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyers will do everything that we can to make sure that you get those benefits with as little frustration and as few delays as possible.

Our Social Security Disability Lawyers Help Military Get Fair Benefits

We respect and honor the hard work you did for our country. Now, our Social Security disability lawyers are here for you. We will:

  • Answer all of your questions promptly.
  • Submit your Social Security disability application.
  • Handle any appeals if your disability application is denied.

You won’t owe us any hourly fees. Instead, we will be paid a percentage of the back benefits we recover for you.

Our Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyers represent active military service members, veterans, and civilians throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. We choose to concentrate our practice on these New England states that are served by just a few Social Security hearing offices so that we can get to know the practices of the hearing offices for the benefit of our clients.

If you are thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits or you need to appeal a Social Security disability denial, we encourage you to contact us for a free no-obligation consultation in our conveniently located Natick law office or by phone.

Additionally, you can continue learning about protecting your rights throughout the Social Security disability claims process by downloading a free copy of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process, at any time.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer