A new bill that has garnered support by veterans, their loved ones and advocacy groups is aimed at delivering faster disability payments to those veterans injured in combat. The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act would exempt active-duty, Reserve and National Guard service members who have been injured in combat zones from the customary 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments.
Eligible veterans in Charlotte, North Carolina and nationwide could benefit from the passage of the bill, which has been proposed as an amendment to the Social Security Act. Those in need of speedier disability payments are the same veterans who are transitioning out of the military but have been too severely injured or are too ill to pursue gainful employment.
Veterans' advocates and organizations are in support of the measure which would help to protect the rights and interests of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives and their health to protect our country. Without the passage of the bill, many of these veterans return home and have to wait months, even over a year for financial help. The bill would honor the veterans by ensuring support and a focus on recovery and healing.
The new bill would not expand eligibility or automatically approve applications; however, the processing time for these applications would be reduced for exempt combat veterans. The same protections to prevent fraud and abuse of the program would remain intact under the current law. In short, the law would stipulate that the waiting period for disability insurance would not apply to disabled service members recovering from injury or illness in a combat zone.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Disabled Veterans National Foundation Supports Bill That Would Speed Disability Payments to Veterans Wounded in Combat," Nov. 6, 2012