Moore said officials should be commended for assisting veterans who are pursuing Social Security claims, but said Congress must also deal with the VA's "broken disability claim system."

Initial VA claims take an average of 168 days to process, but many veterans wait upward of a year. Appeals can take years.

Darin Selnick, an Air Force veteran with Concerned Veterans for America, said he wants to see whether the new Social Security Administration protocol works as promised.

"The VA and its partnerships with the DOD and the Social Security Administration are very good at many pronouncements about what they're going to do," he said. "They're not so good at making it happen."

The announcement is a political coup for Sarbanes, who has repeatedly introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to expedite the claims process at Social Security.

His efforts gained broad bipartisan support in Washington, but never enough political traction to stand a chance of becoming law.

Sarbanes says he became involved in the issue after hearing from a Baltimore Highlands constituent in 2007 who had been certified as 100 percent disabled by Veteran Affairs but waited two years for the Social Security Administration to approve disability benefits.

"There's all kinds of reasons why legislation may not advance … so we didn't want to put all our eggs in that basket," Sarbanes said. "You want to remove as many impediments as you can and I think that the process that SSA has come up with here does just that."

ywenger@baltsun.com

john.fritze@baltsun.com