Military veterans sacrifice immensely for our country. They are separated from their families for long periods of time, placed in dangerous situations, and sometimes suffer debilitating life-changing injuries. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides injured vets with disability benefits if they are unable to work due to a service-related disability.
Under the VA’s program, injured vets should receive Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits within 125 days. Unfortunately, thousands of injured veterans are going months and years without the benefits to which they are entitled. According to this article in the USA Today, 851,000 veterans are currently awaiting answers on compensation claims for wounds, illnesses, or injuries incurred during their service – and two out of three injured vets have been waiting more than 125 days for an answer.
According to the USA Today, the number of cases in which an injured vet has been waiting more than a year grew from 13,000 in 2009 to 245,000 in December 2012. Although there are signs that the backlog may be shrinking, for the thousands of vets who continue to wait, each day is an eternity. Many of these injured vets suffer debilitating injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are unable to work as a result. Accordingly, until they receive their TDIU benefits, they are without income.
The Chicago disability law firm of Ankin Law Office, LLC focuses on helping disabled individuals, including disabled veterans, obtain the full range of benefits to which they are entitled.
In many cases, a disabled veteran may be eligible for both TDIU benefits and SSDI benefits since SSDI is a “work for pay” program in which the veteran has earned his or her benefits through previous employment. Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides needs-based benefits to disabled persons who meet certain eligibility requirements, including falling below specific income and asset thresholds. In these cases, TDIU benefits may offset any SSI benefits.
Because of the current TDIU backlog, disabled veterans are often awarded SSDI benefits before receiving VA benefits. In these cases, any social security disability awards can be helpful to the TDIU application process if the SSDI award covers the same disability as the TDIU claim.
The claims process for TDIU and SSDI benefits can be complicated, confusing, and lengthy. Accordingly, it is helpful to consult with a knowledgeable disability attorney to help guide you through the maze of legal requirements and benefit application procedures. Contact the Chicago disability lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about TDIU and SSDI disability benefits for injured veterans.