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Changes will speed up determining disability for veterans

Anyone in Florida who has had experience with the Social Security disability system knows that the wait times can be a nightmare. At a time when a disabled individual is struggling to make ends meet, wait times of months or even a year or more can spell financial ruin. For years now, advocates have been voicing the need for a more efficient system that allows individuals to have their claims adjudicated more quickly, thereby leading to faster benefit recovery for those who qualify.

Now, the Social Security Administration has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs to speed up the adjudication of veterans' claims. To do so, they have implemented a new Health IT program that is now available at all SSD processing locations. The new system allows the Social Security Administration to request medical records electronically. Currently, all medical records are requested in paper form and, with almost 15 million such requests a year, the wait time for those documents alone can be months-long.

The new system should be a great change for veterans seeking SSD benefits. Now, instead of taking months to receive medical records, the SSA can receive medical documentation in a matter of minutes or even seconds. This change could allow veterans in need to receive the compensation they need and deserve much quicker, drastically reducing the time that they face financial hardship.

With that being said, the new change also means that claim denials will be sent out much more quickly to veterans who fail to qualify for benefits. These individuals shouldn't despair, but should instead educate themselves on how to challenge the ruling and present additional evidence that can strengthen their claim. An experienced attorney may be able to help in this arena.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Social Security and Veterans Affairs Partnership Means Faster Disability Decisions for Veterans," Nov. 9, 2016

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