Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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The SSA's 'Wounded Warrior' program

Like anyone other eligible person who has suffered a disabling injury, a New Jersey soldier who can no longer work because of an injury he or she suffered while on duty has the option of applying for Social Security disability benefits. Soldiers should note that these benefits are different from those available via the Department of Veterans Affairs.

However, in part to acknowledge the sacrifice that wounded soldiers have made for the United States, the Social Security Administration offers an expedited application process, meaning that injured New Jersey soldiers can start drawing benefits more quickly than would an average resident. The process applies to those who suffered an injury while on active duty any time after October 1, 2001.

All a person who wants to take advantage of this program need do is let the Social Security Administration know, as soon as possible in the application process, that he or she suffered a disabling injury while on active duty. Of course, the person will need to provide thorough and updated medical records and information and will need to let the Administration know about any changes in contact information. Not doing so could mean that the Administration cannot process an application quickly.

New Jersey soldiers and veterans should be cautioned, however, that the Wounded Warrior Program only offers those who served an expedited review of their application for benefits. The legal criteria for qualifying as "disabled," as well as all the other eligibility requirements for Social Security, remain unchanged. In other words, an injured soldier can expect a relatively quick decision but is not guaranteed a favorable decision.

Still, the possibility of being able to draw benefits relatively quickly should be encouraging to New Jersey soldiers who were hurt on duty and need help with rehabilitation and other expenses.

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