From Market Watch’s CPA columnist Jeff Rose:
Many of our military service members know first hand what it’s like to be wounded and unable to work. Anyone who has been disabled, including soldiers, can take advantage of two different Social Security benefits programs:
Social Security Disability Insurance : Benefits are paid to disabled persons who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. If you have paid into the system, you are considered “insured.”
Supplemental Security Income : Financial need is used to determine the benefits you are paid.
In order to qualify for either of these programs, you need to meet the definition of “disabled.” In order to qualify as disabled, you need to be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition, and your condition is expected to last for at least one year. Full column here: