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New bill expedites payments for wounded combat veterans

Increasing attention is being paid to the extended wait times faced by veterans and those in need Social Security Disability payments in Los Angeles, California and nationwide. A new bill is under review to expedite disability payments to those veterans injured in combat. Though not all SSDI recipients will benefit from the bill, it could mean an substantially reduced wait time for veterans returning from combat and in need of financial support.

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. The bill has been proposed as an amendment to the Social Security Act and would benefit the most critically wounded veterans. These are the veterans who are transitioning out of the military and have suffered such severe injuries that they are too ill or disabled to work.

Veterans' advocates and organizations are in support of the measure. Without the passage of the bill, many of these combat veterans return home and have to wait months, even over a year for financial help. According to these groups, the bill would honor the veterans and provide necessary support so that they can focus on recovery and healing. Though the new bill does not expand eligibility or mean an automatic approval, it does significantly reduce processing time.

The Social Security Act would maintain the same protections to prevent fraud and abuse of the program. The amendment would stipulate that the wait period for disability insurance would not apply to disabled or injured combat veterans.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Disabled Veterans National Foundation Supports Bill That Would Speed Disability Payments to Veterans Wounded in Combat," Nov. 6, 2012

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