Once We Serve, We Always Serve

" "When I made the decision to enlist in the Army, I knew it was a lifetime commitment, whether I was in uniform or not. Once we serve, we always serve.

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.


32 thoughts on “Once We Serve, We Always Serve

  1. Associate Commissioner Clemons, Thank you and your family for your service. It is particularly satisfying to read of your professional service now at the SSA Office of Disability Policy.

    I served in the US Army during the Viet Nam era, with a tour of duty in the Republic of Korea. Like you and so many others, I was honored to serve. Once I returned to civilian life, I passed the FSEE and started my SSA career which included interviewing thousands of wage earners in the Midwest. I worked in Central Office and later Atlanta Regional Office and retired from the St Petersburg District Office. I saw the value of the program over the years, starting in 1965. I still volunteer by sharing SS and Medicare knowledge with AARP and other friends.God Bless U S A and all Veterans

  2. Ms Clemons has a pretty good column. But let me tell you the real life way veterans are treated. At a hearing in the minnapols ssa office. I tried to show a ssa representative facts in my case for alleged overpayment. Her response was ( quote ) you veterans get to many benefits anyway. This meeting is terminated. I was never allowed to show the evidence for my side of the hearing. Emily simply filled out a form and when I tried to show evidence close the file and had two security gaurds throw me out of the office. This is the real way disabled Vietnam vet get treated. Determination was m are without me ever being able to show proof. Thank to ssa I am forced to live on 359.00 a month. While I wait years for an appeal. Kevin.Braend@gmail.com.

    • The current Administration cut the Funding to pay SS Employees that handle SS Disability claims two years back. It’s an attempt to keep those who paid in for decades off SSDI as their conditions. worsen.

  3. My wife started taking benefits at 62, can she receive
    higher spousal benefits now that I am retired.due to the fact I am receiving more if so where do you apply for this benefit.

    • Hello Jerry. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week.
      See “Benefits For Your Spouse” for information on this topic. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for your service. try to pray daily for the safety of our troops. Myself I spent 20+ years in the Indiana National Guard and am now drawing a pension. Thanks again.

  5. I haven’t applied for ssn. Due to TBI I need Help in with the paperwork filing. I am 67 yrs old. Suppose to have applied last yr but my court appointed guardian didn’t do it along with other crucial matters.

  6. I,ve been retire now for about three year, but recently found some papers from ssa, that should my years of Gov. service and the years of earning they relied on too determan my monthly payments; To my surprise, I notice they had missed 3 years that i had been working fulltime. So what do I to get reevaluated.

    • Hi Sufia, thank you for your question. Keep in mind that you can apply for most Social Security benefits right online, without needing an appointment. You can apply for Social Security retirement, spouses, disability and Medicare all online.

      If you are unable to file online or encounter a problem, you can schedule an appointment by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and a representative will assist you.

  7. I was born on 01Jan1947. On 01 Jul 2000, I retired from the USAF.

    The VA rated me 100% P&T

    Recently, I learned I can opt out of Medicare because I am rated 100% P&T. If I opt out, how does this affect my spouses Tricare For Life benefits?

  8. I would like to ask about filing a complaint on a DDS worker who has lied to me saying that SSDI will not allow me to obtain my own records and then after 6 month of waiting for so called paperwork I find out she never requested them just put that she was unable to obtain them. I called a a SSDI work said that I could provide my own records and she called DDS worker and now it seems that she is obtaining them again and when called the DDS work about me getting them and again she says I would rather get it from the provider directly so I know they are not false documents…. And when wanting to file a complaint on this DDS worker was told SSDI only funds this agency but they are state workers so we can’t do anything . How do you file on this worker she is not doing what she is paid to do. AND MISS LEADING APPLICANTS AND DENYING THEM THEIR RIGHTS.

  9. Are there any changes being made to SSDI policy-legislatively or in-house regarding the ‘worked 5 of the last 10 years’ for veterans who are 100%, IU, and Permanent and Total? It took me 13 years to be rated IU P&T and was never aware of SSDI until AFTER I was awarded my claim.

  10. I’m approaching retirement age and I’m concerned about the future of SS. We (the tax payers) are paying into SS all of our lives and all we hear is how it’s going bankrupt. I see articles that the ways to make it last longer is to reduce payments, raise the full retirement age, stop the COLA’s, etc. What I don’t hear is to stop giving it way as another welfare program to people with “Disabilities”. SS was never meant to provide income to fat people or people with ADD. Another thing is, that money was never supposed to be used by the government for anything other retirement fund for those who paid into it. To fix the SS issue, stop the giving it to people who don’t want to work as disability and ADD payments. A school counselor suggested to parents I know to apply for SS for their child who has ADD and they will receive benefits for the rest of their lives. WTF!! This is why SS is going broke, not the people like me who have worked all my life contributing to it. It’s my entitlement not someone else’s welfare program! Congress needs to fix this and we need a advocate to voice this to them.

  11. The US Department of Education and Nelnet is requesting my documentation on my continuing medical reviews which I never have received. Nelnet requires this information for the TDP discharge process and I have to provide it within 60 days of December 1, 2019. Can you please offer more information on how can I go about getting this documentation since my only resource of medical records is the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

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