By Maria M. Miranda
On Memorial Day, we honor men and women who died while courageously serving in the U.S. military. We also recognize active duty service members, especially those who have been wounded. Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades to thank our service members and their families for their sacrifices.
Policymakers put into place laws and benefits to protect our heroes and their families. For example, Social Security provides survivors, disability, retirement, and Medicare benefits. Not only does Social Security have benefits to protect veterans, we also provide family benefits to protect service members’ dependents.
Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits. You can learn more about Social Security survivor’s benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.
Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T). Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.
Service members can also receive Social Security, as well as military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit doesn’t reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement. You may also want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm.
Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change, or end, when you become eligible for Medicare. Learn more about Medicare benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare.
In acknowledgement of those who died for our country, those who served, and those who serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you.
Maria M. Miranda is Social Security District Manager in Palm Springs CA