Free event for active duty service members, veterans and their families; everyone admitted free to Nov. 11 movie screening
Belleville, Ill. — Oct. 31, 2016 — Allsup, a nationwide provider of veterans disability appeals and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation, will present a VA-accredited Claims Agent and SSDI expert to answer questions and provide resources during the No Family Left Behind Conference and Connection Fair, Nov. 11-12, at Faith Family Church in Shiloh, Illinois.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a quarter of the 1.2 million veterans living in Illinois and Missouri have a disability. In Illinois, 26% of veterans have a disability, compared to 12% of the non-veteran population. For Missouri veterans, the disability rate is 30%, compared to the state’s non-veteran population disability rate of 16%.
Veterans with an honorable, general or medical discharge who have an injury or illness incurred or aggravated while on military duty can file for VA disability benefits.
“It takes about 130 days to receive a decision on an initial application for VA disability benefits,” said VA-accredited Claims Agent Brett Buchanan. “If a veteran is denied benefits, or believes the disability rating is too low, he or she can appeal.”
Although the appeal process can take five to seven years, there are a number of reasons why filing an appeal is in the veteran’s best interest.
“Most significantly, filing a timely appeal maintains the effective date of the award,” said Buchanan. “This can make a huge difference when computing past due benefits.”
Veterans with disabilities may also be eligible for SSDI benefits because they paid FICA taxes, just like civilian workers. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) criteria for awarding disability benefits are separate from the VA. Although the SSA has special programs for certain groups of veterans that will expedite review of their claims, having VA disability benefits does not guarantee that a veteran will receive SSDI benefits.
In addition to getting answers to their VA disability and Social Security Disability Insurance questions, veterans, active duty service members and their families will be able to connect with local and national organizations that provide employment, mental health, financial planning and other services.
The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Russell, is the founding director of the Institute for War Injuries and Social Justice of Antioch University. He is featured in the award-winning documentary, Thank You for Your Service. The public is invited to a free screening of the movie on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Conference registration is $10. Veterans, active duty military and their families can attend free with scholarships made available by event sponsors. Call (618) 277-0232 for scholarship information before registering. To register, visit the website at OperationHonor.net. Continuing education units are available for professional counselors and social workers.
For more information, visit our veterans disability appeal web page.