Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) October 30, 2009
With the recent explosion in applications for Social Security disability benefits, people with disabilities risk longer waits and crucial mistakes with their claims when they file without representation, according to Allsup. The Belleville, Ill., company represents tens of thousands of people in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process each year.
The number of people applying for SSDI benefits continues to climb, with more than 2.1 million applications for year-to-date through September 2009, compared with 1.7 million applications for the same period a year earlier (Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk, Oct. 19). At the same time, media reports are highlighting the furloughs of state government workers managing this crushing load of SSDI applications.
"Growing applications combined with furloughs are worsening the workload for government workers and adding to the hardship for applicants," said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of claims at Allsup. "When you add the fact that two-thirds of people are denied benefits after filing their initial SSDI application--it's absolutely critical that people are represented from the beginning to give them the greatest advantage."
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a disability (injury, illness or condition) that is expected to last for at least 12 months or is terminal. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. More details are provided in the SSDI Overview on Allsup.com.
Allsup Outlines Risks Without Representation
Individuals with a disability can get representation for their SSDI application at any level of the process, whether the initial application or an appeal.
"We receive many calls from individuals who contact Allsup because they've been denied SSDI benefits after applying on their own," said Mr. Stein. "It's not uncommon to hear, 'I wish I would have started with Allsup from the beginning.' "
On average, 36 percent of those who go it alone in the SSDI process are awarded at the initial application, according to the SSA. In comparison, 56 percent of Allsup applicants are awarded at level 1.
Consider the following additional risks of applying for SSDI on your own:
1. Not providing enough information, providing incorrect information or missing important details that are needed to evaluate your SSDI claim, resulting in a delay or a denial of your claim. Note: Allsup representatives specialize in SSDI applications, know the information that is required, how much detail is needed and have a thorough understanding of the Social Security regulations that guide disability examiners who decide SSDI applications.
2. Not completing integral pieces of the application process or underestimating the importance of certain pieces of an application, including medical documentation from physicians, and completing medical or consultative exams. This also can result in a delay or denial of your claim. Note: Allsup representatives coordinate all aspects of your case, including interactions with the SSA to monitor your case's progress, help scheduling exams and compiling medical evidence.
3. Not finding out until months later that a mistake in your earnings record or other information recorded with Social Security disqualifies you for SSDI benefits. Note: Allsup representatives provide a free disability evaluation to help you know early in the process if you are eligible and likely to qualify for SSDI benefits based on your work history and earnings, as well as your disability.
4. Not knowing what is happening with your claim after you file. Claimants can wait for weeks and months, or wait in long lines, to receive an indication of what is happening with their claim and where it stands in the SSDI process. Note: Allsup representatives are in regular communication with the SSA to determine the status of your claim. Some Allsup customers also can check their claim status any time of day through Allsup Place, an online community.
5. Not receiving your SSDI benefits. Note: Allsup representatives have a success rate of 98 percent, meaning 98 percent of customers who complete the SSDI application process with Allsup receive their SSDI benefits.
There are additional advantages to applying for SSDI benefits with Allsup on your side.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and workers' compensation services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Allsup employs more than 600 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit http://www.Allsup.com.
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5065
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5760
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