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Military service members and Social Security Disability

Workers in Georgia who are current and former military service members who are no longer able to perform work duties because of a medical condition may be interested to know that they can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Military service members should know that Social Security Disability is awarded by the Social Security Administration and not the Department of Veterans' Affairs, therefore a separate application is required.

Like civilians, military service members who are no longer able to work can receive Social Security Disability Insurance. Military service members are considered covered by the federal program if they have worked for a requisite number of years and have paid Social Security taxes. Certain family members may also receive benefits based on the military service member's application.

In order to receive Social Security Disability, military service members must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. According to the SSA's website, a military service member may be found disabled if she or he is not able to complete substantial work because of a medical condition, and the medical condition must have lasted for at least one year or be expected to last at least one year. Social Security Disability does provide benefits for short-term disability or partial disability.

Duty status and military pay implications are also important. Active duty status and the receipt of military pay alone do not prevent the payment of disability benefits. The determining factor regarding the influence work and pay have on benefits is the actual work activity the military service member is engaged in. Therefore, the receipt of military benefits should not stop a service member from applying.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability benefits for wounded warriors," Jan. 2012

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