As we honor our veterans, it is important to understand the resources available to help disabled individuals and their children. The Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched a joint program that will allow for disability applications made by veterans to be processed more quickly. The new health initiative allows the VA to share medical records electronically with disability processors at the SSA through a secure process.

The new process is designed to save time and money and expedite processing of disability claims for veterans and dependents. Cooperation between the two agencies is expected to speed up disability decisions. As part of processing claims for disability, the Social Security Administration requests close to 15 million medical records from various health care providers each year to process and decide upon approximately 3 million applications for disability.

Disability claims are, of course, of high importance for many disabled individuals and their families. When applying, medical records are always an important component of the process, so it is helpful, in any application circumstance, for them to be as thorough and complete as possible. To qualify for disability, medical records must reflect that the applicant has a physical or mental medical condition that is expected to last greater than 12 months or result in death and the disability has made the applicant unable to work.

It can be a challenge when applying for Social Security disability benefits to understand all that needs to be included in the application. A thorough application with complete medical records is always important, as it is also important for applicants to understand the application process to achieve a successful claim for benefits.

Source: Quad-City Times, “New initiative to speed up disability decisions for veterans,” Linda Cook, Nov. 13, 2016