The esprit de corps of the military— integrity, fellowship, and loyalty — is resolute in the veteran community. The core elements — commitment to country, service to others, looking out for one another — are deep-seated. When I moved on with my career, the creed to serve manifested differently. For the last 25 years, I have served with the federal government, always with agencies that share that commitment, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Veterans Affairs, and Social Security. I try to reinforce my commitment in everything I do, especially as I champion veterans’ causes in my work in the Social Security disability program.
Social Security shares the same values and a commitment to be there throughout life’s journey. We are committed to providing high quality and timely service in support of our veterans and their families to help them secure today and tomorrow.
At Social Security, it’s important for us to be there for those who have bravely served our country not only through our benefit programs, but also through our targeted outreach initiatives, expedited processes, recruitment efforts, and collaborations with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
We partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to electronically exchange thousands of medical records in order to better serve our veterans. We expedite our decisions at all levels of review for wounded warriors and veterans who have a 100 percent “permanent and total” VA rating. These efforts are vital. They allowed us to help a wounded warrior with terminal cancer receive her benefits within a week. They were also critical in getting expedited retroactive benefits to the families of twelve marines who died when their helicopters collided.
Social Security also has a commitment to hiring our veterans by using the special hiring authorities designed specifically for veterans. We maintain our level of service to them and provide resources within the agency to help them to continue leading and improving. We have many diverse career fields available.
As America observes Veterans’ Day this year, my husband, Dale, an Air Force veteran, and I will be joining our family members, Cali, Lexi, and Owen, and their classmates for their Veterans’ Day celebration. We’ll be talking about our experiences and the importance of service to our up-and-coming generation.
Join us in honoring our fellow service members and veterans by sharing our resources with your family and friends to support veterans in your community.
Gina Clemons is the Associate Commissioner for the Office of Disability Policy. She is an Army veteran and has over six years of service at Social Security.