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Injured vets eligible for Social Security disability benefits


Those who serve in the military make many sacrifices on behalf of their country. Whether they are on active duty or members of reserve or National Guard units, their schedules are dictated by their service responsibilities. Ever since the late 1950s, those who are actively deployed have been covered by Social Security and have been eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and can apply for them in case of service-related injury and disabilities. Those service personnel who served before 1957 were granted special credits.

Military personnel pay into Social Security like the vast majority of civilians. Every service member pays 6.2 percent of his or her monthly pay in Social Security taxes. Most military personnel also pay an additional Medicare tax. SSDI benefits are there when service members need them and are only based on a member's lifetime earnings. Military retirement pay is not factored into any consideration of SSDI benefits.

The amount of paperwork to apply for benefits, however, can be overwhelming, which is why many claimants seek the help of attorneys to establish claims and shepherd them through the SSDI system.

The SSDI benefits that someone qualifies for depends on the number of credits accumulated during the time he or she paid Social Security taxes. Four credits accrue every year. This is the minimum requirement for SSDI benefit eligibility. No one needs to have more than 40 credits, the amount accumulated over 10 years of work.

Social Security Disability benefits are generally calculated based on the average annual income drawn by the claimant during his or her years of military service. For this reason, the longer a person has been in the military, the more in benefits he or she will likely be eligible for. Extra credits are given for active duty, including for training periods.

Source: SocialSecurity.gov, "Military service and Social Security," Accessed on April 9, 2015

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