Belleville, IL (PRWEB) March 05, 2013
During Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness and Education Month in March, organizations across the nation are sponsoring activities to increase understanding of the chronic neurological disorder. Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation, helps individuals with MS obtain disability and healthcare benefits when they can no longer continue working. Allsup also offers guidance, free screenings and resource materials to raise MS awareness.
According to the National MS Society, the average individual with MS leaves the workforce 10 years after diagnosis.
“Given the progressive and often unpredictable nature of the disease, it’s not surprising that MS is associated with significant financial burdens and high rates of unemployment,” said Tai Venuti, Allsup’s manager of Strategic Alliances. “The MS Society reports the average cost of living with MS is $69,000 a year, while the median U.S. income is $49,000.”
For individuals with MS who are unable to work or anticipate being unable to work, Allsup recommends the following action steps.
1. Determine eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
SSDI is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program. A portion of workers’ FICA taxes are set aside for SSDI, which provides income if they are unable to work due to MS or another severe disability. To be eligible for SSDI benefits someone must have at least 40 work credits. Twenty of those credits must have been earned during the last 10 years.
“Even if you don’t think you need the income, file as soon as you know you will not be able to continue working,” Venuti said.
“I’ve met many people, particularly women, who put off filing for a variety of reasons and realize too late that they should have filed to protect their retirement benefits or receive Medicare. It’s heart wrenching to have to tell people they are no longer eligible for benefits because their insured status expired, even if they worked for 20 or 30 years before becoming disabled.”
Veterans also may be eligible for SSDI. Almost one-fifth of veterans eligible for VA benefits are permanently disabled and also receive SSDI benefits.
Allsup offers free disability evaluations at Expert.Allsup.com or by calling (888) 841-2126.
2. Find the right SSDI representative.
According to a government report, MS patients are among those most often denied SSDI benefits at the initial level (47 percent), yet subsequently approved at the appeals level when they are most likely to have professional representation. Finding the right expert representative can help individuals get through the Social Security disability backlog faster, no matter where they are in the process. Those seeking help should look for a representative who specializes in SSDI and understands the complexities of the process from the initial application to appeals.
3. Take stock of personal finances.
Filing for SSDI benefits often is the first step toward re-establishing an income source. Individuals can improve their financial circumstances greatly with careful planning and by knowing about and using all available resources. The Allsup Disability Life Planning Service ® is an affordable service that provides individuals with True Help® and connections to other resources.
Customized resources also are available at Allsup Place, a secure online community where people with similar interests and experiences can connect and share information. Allsup Place membership is free and open to the public.
4. Investigate VA disability benefits.
Along with SSDI, individuals who are veterans may be eligible for VA disability (or compensation) benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If someone has symptoms while serving in the military, or within seven years after honorable discharge, he or she may meet eligibility criteria for a service-connected disability. The VA also makes available healthcare, medications and other assistance. For example, veterans with MS may be eligible for assistance to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle, make home modifications, receive in-home assistance or independent living services and respite care.
Veterans who have an appeal pending with the VA, or have been denied or received a rating decision within the past year that they believe is too low, can go to Veterans.Allsup.com for a complimentary veterans disability appeal review.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 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, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.
(800) 854-1418 ext 68573
(800) 854-1418 ext 65065