Our Michigan readers may have hears about the increased number of people seeking Social Security disability benefits recently. Among those seeking out benefits are veterans. Unfortunately for vets, getting the disability help they need is not necessarily an easy process. And with employers hesitant to hire those who've been on tour multiple times with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other disabilities, life can be downright difficult.
According to a recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, veterans in Michigan applying for disability benefits through the Veterans Administration wait an average of 319 days for a decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in downtown Detroit. The national average wait is 257 days.
Over the last 16 months, the wait time for veterans at that office has increased by 25.7 percent. For those who appeal their claim, the wait can take over three years.
The reasons for the long wait are multiple, but include an increased number of claims being filed, expanded eligibility for Vietnam-era vets for Agent Orange exposure, and lack of a computer based system. The last factor will be changing by 2015.
Veterans are eligible for disability benefits not only through the VA, but also through Social Security. The two systems are not the same, though, and it can be greatly helpful to have guidance when submitting an application for Social Security disability benefits. Wait times can also be longer with SSDI claims, depending on the circumstances, but putting together a solid application can help make the process less of a hassle.
Source: Michigan Radio, "Veterans' disability claims in limbo at Michigan VA office," Mark Brush, August 29, 2012.