SSA Improves Process for Wounded Warriors

May 21, 2012

The Social Security Administration and the Department of Defense (DoD) are working together to improve access to disability benefits for the nation’s Wounded Warriors, service members, veterans, and their dependents.  A new nationwide project enables Social Security disability case processing sites to receive military medical records from multiple DoD facilities with a single request to a centralized DoD site.  As of April 30, this initiative is in its first phase of nationwide expansion.  The thought is that receiving electronic medical records for military personnel will shorten the time it takes to make a disability decision according said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.  He is hopeful that the new process will improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the disability program.

A pilot program had electronic medical records being received within 72 hours, a remarkable improvement over the previous average response time of five weeks for paper records from individual military treatment facilities.

I can attest to the fact that the medical records requests I make often take anywhere from 4-8 weeks and are often missing pages or hospital admissions, prompting a second request.  Without medical records, SSA is not able to make a decision, so claims are stalled.  I enthusiastically applaud any effort SSA makes to improve the speed of the decisions being issued.  Whether fast turn around time on medical records will improve the accuracy and efficiency of their decisions remains to be seen.


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