Social Security disability is supposed to be relatively easy for military veterans to receive. Now, the Obama administration has proposed a new rule that has many vets up in arms, with many believing that the changes will make it more challenging for veterans to receive the benefits they need.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the large number of methods that applicants can use to request disability compensation creates a significant backlog in the system. With approximately 400,000 veterans waiting for disability benefits for more than 125 days, vet groups state that the difficulty in determining what is being claimed and the volume of communication that takes place between the applicant and the Social Security Administration actually hinders the process.
Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed a new rule to mitigate this backlog, asking that all veterans use a standard form when filing for disability compensation.
Although both the Obama administration and veterans groups agree that something must be done to improve the Social Security disability process for everyone—including veterans—the two groups are in disagreement with each other on this new proposal.
For many veterans groups, this proposed rule is “heavy-handed.” Some groups claim that it will “poison” the system by making it more challenging for veterans to receive the benefits they need. Under the current system, veterans receive benefits retroactive to when they file their application.
Opponents of the proposed new rule for a standard form state that the initial communication from a veteran may not trigger anything. The groups also state that while they are not opposed to a standard form being used to increase efficiency, they worry that the amount of time it will take to complete the form and research the claims may cause veterans to receive less money in the long run because a single omission of information could take months to resolve.
The VA has not set a timeline for issuing the final rule. If it does approve the ruling, there will be a 30-day implementation period before the new regulations begin.