published Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Martin Coffey: Serving wounded warriors and survivors of heroes

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    Trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's financial management services facility in Philadelphia. Social Security recipients will get a raise in January, their first increase in benefits since 2009. Experts expect the increase will be about 3.5 percent. Some 55 million beneficiaries find out for sure today when an inflation measure that determines the annual cost-of-living adjustment is released.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

It's an American tradition to pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces each Memorial Day -- especially honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

If you are a military service member who was wounded and needs to apply for disability benefits, it's important to know that you will receive expedited processing. Our wounded warriors initiative is for military service members who become disabled while on active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be able to receive benefits. Learn more about it at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

Did you know that May also is National Military Appreciation Month? Even more reason to let members of our military know how much we value what they do for us and our nation.

To learn more about the Social Security benefits for those who have served in the military, read our publication, Military Service and Social Security. You can find it online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html, or send us an email at OPI.Net.Post@ssa.gov, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to ask for a free copy to be mailed to you.

Memorial Day also is a good time to remind families of fallen military heroes that we may be able to pay Social Security survivors benefits. If the person you depended on for income has died, you should apply for survivors benefits. Learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm

Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from the Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.

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