Veterans with a 100 percent disability rating will get their Social Security claims processed faster, thanks to a change announced by the agency Wednesday.
Officials announced plans to expedite disability claims for individuals with a 100 percent rating from the Veterans Affairs Department. The agency already offers the quicker processing for active-duty troops who are wounded.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and it is only right that we ensure they have timely access to the disability benefits they may be eligible for and deserve,” acting commissioner of Social Security Carolyn Colvin said in a statement.
The move could cut months off the wait for payouts to disabled veterans unable to work, many of whom already had to endure long waits for their paperwork to wind through the VA’s own disability claims process.
The new program is expected to begin in mid-March. Officials noted that the change does not guarantee approval for Social Security disability benefits, and that veterans will have to prove they have received the appropriate VA rating to qualify.
Veterans must also identify themselves as a 100 percent disabled veteran when they submit their claim, to alert processors of their possible expedited status.
Social Security officials did not have an estimate on how many veterans are expected to use the program.
Like the VA, the Social Security Administration has struggled in recent years to work through a backlog of disability claims, and has been the subject of congressional hearings and scrutiny.