Wounded Warrior: Legal Definition

A “wounded warrior” is a military service member who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001.

Wounded warriors are eligible to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors program.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will expedite the disability claims process for a disabled veteran or a disabled service member on active military duty.

Social Security Disability Benefits Programs

Social Security has two disability benefits programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI pays monthly benefits to individuals who have worked for a certain number of years in jobs that paid Social Security taxes. An individual’s family members may be eligible to receive some SSDI benefits, as well.

SSI pays for monthly benefits based on an individual’s financial need, age, or disability, rather than their work history.

SSA’s Definition of Disability

The Social Security Administration definition of disability considers a person disabled if, among other factors, they:

  • Cannot do substantial work because of one or more medical conditions
  • Have medical conditions that lasted, or are expected to last, at least one year or to result in death

Military Pay and Disability Benefits

Service members who are on active duty and receive military pay may still qualify for disability benefits. SSA will evaluate work activity if the service member is:

  • Receiving treatment at a military medical facility
  • Working in a designed therapy program
  • Working on limited duty

While SSDI applicants are not prohibited from working part-time or having other sources of income, SSA does not pay SSDI benefits if a person is performing “substantial work for pay or profit.”

The SSA determines eligibility based on the type of work and not the amount of military pay or duty status.

How Disability Benefits Are Determined

SSA sends claims to the State Disability Determinations Services (DDS) office, which determines whether you are disabled and makes decisions on who receives benefits.

Before making a final decision, the DDS may contact doctors and facilities where the service member receives treatment to obtain the service member’s medical records. DDS may also require the service member to take an independent medical examination or tests.

Information SSA Requires

SSA requires certain documents and medical information from service members applying for disability benefits.

The information needed includes:

  • Original or certified copy of the applicant’s birth certificate
  • W-2 Form or income tax return from the previous year
  • Form DD214, if discharged from military service
  • Proof of military pay or workers’ compensation

The Disability Advantage Group Can Help You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

The lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group can help you navigate the application process for the Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors program.

We can also help you obtain the paperwork SSA requires service members to submit. Our lawyers will work hard to get you the disability benefits you deserve.

To learn more about how our lawyers can help you, call +1-865-566-0800 for a free consultation.