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Social Security supports veterans, active duty military personnel

Supporting veterans and active duty members of the military is a key part of Social Security’s mission. For those Armed Forces veterans who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Social Security's online retirement estimator can help you to make financial plans for your future. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Supporting veterans and active duty members of the military is a key part of Social Security's mission. Our disability program has helped countless wounded warriors and their loved ones.

Every Veterans Day, the nation collectively honors the brave people who risk their lives to protect our country.

For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security's Wounded Warriors website is at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and provides other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs; they require a separate application. Social Security's expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they're unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn't necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can't receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

You can learn more by visiting our veterans page at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/veterans.

Questions & Answers

Question: How can I protect myself against identity theft?

Answer: First, don't carry your Social Security card with you. Keep it secure at home with your other important papers. Second, don't readily give out your Social Security number. While many banks, schools, doctors, landlords, and others will request your number, it is your decision whether to provide it. Ask if there is some other way to identify you in their records. If you are the victim of identity theft, you should report it right away. To report identity theft, fraud, or misuse of your Social Security number, the Federal Trade Commission (the nation's consumer protection agency) recommends you:

• Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the following companies (the company you contact is required to contact the other two, which will then place alerts on your reports): ‣ Equifax, 1-800-525-6285; or ‣ Trans Union, 1-800-680-7289; or ‣ Experian, 1-888-397-3742.

• Review your credit report for inquiries from companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your accounts you cannot explain;

• Close any accounts you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently;

• File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place; and

• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261).

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