Military veterans often come home wounded. The Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) program at military treatment facilities at home and abroad, established by the United States Army, focuses on providing support to wounded soldiers who require a minimum of six months of rehabilitative care, therapy or complex medical management.
What is Warrior Transition Unit?
The goal of the WTU is to transition wounded veterans into a civilian life or return them to army units. Wounded soldiers in such units are provided care from a primary care manager, a nurse care manager and a squad leader, who all work together to coordinate care within nonclinical as well as clinical levels.
Wounded veterans often receive care through TRICARE at VA hospitals. Providing outpatient care management, requirements for clinical care determine whether community-based warrior transition units called CBWTU’s, or a WTU.
They are provided on most Army installations, is utilized for the recovery and transition of the individual at a point closest to his or her home, or personal support such as family, as long as such medical support is available.
Disability Benefits for Veterans
As with most other cases, the Social Security Administration follows guidelines and examines documentation to determine whether an individual is capable of performing other job functions than the functions that he or she has formally performed, whether they're military veterans or not.
For example, if a wounded soldier comes home and is unable to engage in his former occupation or skill, but can transition into working in a more sedentary job, the Social Security Administration will not generally approve disability benefits.
Disability benefits are likely to be denied if the review board determines that an individual is employable. There is no guarantee that either an individual who has been placed in a WTU or battalion or who is listed in the wounded warrior program will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to certain injuries.
Military veterans, especially those wounded in combat and filing for Social Security Disability, may find their claims put on the fast track for processing and may benefit from special provisions for active duty soldiers while in the WTU or Battalion.
It's important for soldiers to continually update their claims to reflect any recent surgeries or continuing physical therapy. In such cases, a soldier's doctor may file a statement claiming that the soldier is unable to perform any work, including office work, dependent on current and future prognosis.
Next Steps to Take
Military veterans in the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) program should file a request for disability reconsideration within 60 days of receiving their denial letters (if they are denied) and should compile all missing or updated documentation regarding their status.
Appeal of a denial can be made at a Social Security Disability hearing. In most cases, however, wounded warriors who are considered capable of performing any type of light, unskilled work or deskwork will not qualify for Social Security Disability.
Active soldiers or veterans applying for disability should also complete a Residual Function Capacity (RFC) form to add to any compiled evidence in their Social Security Disability claim. Psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians treating any physical or mental disability should fill out an RFC form as well.
It is important to remember that when applying for Social Security Disability benefits, whether you are in the WTU program or not, it is important to include as much evidence as possible regarding your disability and how that disability impacts your ability to function in everyday life.
If you have questions regarding how your WTU status affects your qualification for Social Security Disability benefits, you may want to consider consulting with a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney or advocate by taking our free case evaluation.