U.S. Representatives Glenn "GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) today introduced H.R. 1488, the Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act, a bill to exempt disabled service members from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) mandatory 5-month benefit waiting period.
"When combat ends, we must realize that often the struggle continues for our brave soldiers as they return home. We owe our soldiers a great debt of gratitude, and we must ensure they are not burdened while transitioning back into day to day life," stated Rep. Thompson. "The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act will exempt combat injured service members from the Social Security Disability Insurance program's 5-month waiting period. This will help our wounded warriors and their families avoid undue financial and emotional distress."
"It is unacceptable for our service members who have been wounded defending our country to have to wait for benefits or face financial hardship. Instead of worrying about if they will be getting their benefits, they should be focusing on getting better," said Rep. Loebsack. "Our veterans are already waiting far too long to receive VA benefits. They should not also be subjected to delays in their Social Security benefits. This bill honors the sacrifices our wounded service members and their families have made for our country. We owe it to those who have put their lives on the line protecting our freedoms to ensure that they are able to quickly access the benefits they need."
H.R. 1488 amends title II of the Social Security Act to provide that the waiting period for disability insurance benefits shall not be applicable in the case of a disabled service member recovering from an injury or illness incurred in a combat zone.
The Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act does not expand eligibility for SSDI benefits or automatically approve individual requests, and all of the same protections used to prevent fraud and abuse of the program remain as defined under current law.