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30 years of disability benefits awarded retroactively to widow

Today is Veteran's Day: A day that honors those who have served our country and risked their lives. It also honors the families of veterans who also sacrificed when the say goodbye to their loved ones for months on end and often losing their primary income when the soldier comes home injured.

Social security disability benefits help veterans and their families supplement the income that is lost by an injured soldier. Physical injury is not the only kind of disability suffered by soldiers. Mental illness is considered a disability as well. Obtaining benefits should not require a fight with the government, but it often does. The widow of one disabled veteran finally received after 30 years the benefits that her husband should have been awarded, according to the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals.

The widow's husband served as a part of the 101st Airborne Division, but in 1974 he began showing extreme symptoms of schizophrenia. He was diagnosed shortly after and applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. He was denied benefits after the administration determined that he was "not disabled."

His wife fought on for 25 years as she struggled to work while her husband showed absolutely no signs of improvement. When her husband turned 62 years of age, she tried one last time to obtain benefits. The Social Security Administration told the woman that it would allow him to try for Supplemental Security Income, but that he was no longer eligible for SSDI.

Fed up with the frustration and the pain, the woman hired a legal representative. She sadly became a widow during the process, but after 36 years since the initial disability filing, the widow was awarded the 30 years of disability benefits the Court of Appeals said her husband should have received during his lifetime.

Source: Woonsocket Patch, "Five Things You Need To Know Today: Nov. 10," Sandy Phaneuf, Nov. 10, 2011

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