Many residents of Northeast Wisconsin either have served in one of the branches of the Armed Forces. Even when not in combat, soldiers and sailors put their lives and health at risk simply as part of their jobs.

When Wisconsin residents do get injured or fall ill in connection with their duty, the fallout can last for a lifetime. Because of their injuries or illnesses, they may never again be able to work in their chosen profession, or even in any gainful employment. They will need all the financial help they can get.

Fortunately, veterans can get disability payments through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If they take this route, and if Veterans Affairs assigns a 100 percent disability rating to them, then these wounded or sickened soldiers may also be able to collect Social Security Disability benefits on an expedited basis.

As a word of warning, this benefit does not mean that a person is held to a lower standard of proof or otherwise given special treatment when it comes to qualifying for benefits. What it does mean is that the Social Security Administration will treat the veteran’s disability claim with high priority.

In other words, at every stage in the application process, the veteran’s claim will in effect be moved toward the front of the line.

The other piece of good news for disabled veterans is that the payments they receive from Veterans Affairs will not in any manner affect their eligibility for Social Security or serve to reduce how much they can collect through the Social Security Administration.

Even if their claims are expedited, Wisconsin vets who have been disabled in connection with their service to our country may still require professional legal assistance when filing their Social Security claims.