Guest Bloggers

Once We Serve, We Always Serve

November 8, 2018 • By

Last Updated: November 8, 2018

" "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.

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About the Author

Gina Clemons, Associate Commissioner, Office of Disability Policy


  1. Lesly F.

    I think we going to get a New facesses at ssa to help us achieve our dreams at all claims fairly thank veteran.

  2. Jerry H.

    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.

    • Ray F.

      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!

  3. Alton K.

    Why do retired military who retire from civil service lose half of their social security??

  4. Gary

    Kevin, I answered your question but had the answer removed when I submitted it.

  5. Gary O.

    Just posted a comment and it’s been Censored.

  6. Kevin

    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.

    • Gary O.

      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.

  7. ELGIE O.


  8. David i.

    And we never discard our Oath to defend against all enemies, domestic and foreign!

  9. Norman B.

    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

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for your service, Norman. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Frederick S.

    Is there any addition SS benefits for serving in the Viet Nam war?

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