Choosing to use a representative such as Allsup means you can avoid lines at field offices and by telephone
Belleville, IL (Vocus) May 22, 2010
Weekly visits to Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices reached the one million mark five times already by April. As millions of people inundate the agency, it’s important for Social Security disability applicants to examine closely the option of seeking representation, according to Allsup, which represents tens of thousands of people nationwide in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process each year.
Social Security field offices are located in communities nationwide and handle a variety of responsibilities, just one of which is handling SSDI applications. In fiscal year 2009, more than 3 million customers waited more than an hour to be served, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“Choosing to use a representative such as Allsup means you can avoid lines at field offices and by telephone,” said David Bueltemann, manager of senior claims representatives. “Allsup experts can help you determine if you are eligible to apply, answer your questions, and complete and submit your application online. You won’t need to contact your local field office, and you’ll continue to stay informed about your SSDI application.”
What Is SSDI?
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration 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. Find more about Social Security disability applications on Allsup.com.
Ten Reasons to Get SSDI Representation
There are several reasons people choose to seek professional representation when they apply for Social Security disability benefits, including avoiding the line at your local field office. Allsup outlines some of the most common reasons below.
1. You can learn whether you are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits. The SSA’s requirements to qualify for SSDI are rigid, and having Allsup’s help during the process will greatly increase your chances for a favorable decision.
2. You are likely to get through the SSDI process more quickly the first time around. People who use Allsup’s representation services are more likely to get their SSDI benefits at the initial application level. Allsup’s award rate for initial claims is 56 percent compared with the national average of 36 percent. Getting your benefits at the first level, which takes an average of four to six months, can be a significant time-saver because your case does not advance to the next levels of the process, which also can take months for review and a decision.
“Because many Allsup representatives previously worked for the SSA in various positions, they have an expert understanding of the SSDI process, providing you with a distinct advantage in completing and filing your claim for benefits,” said Bueltemann.
3. You don’t have to be the expert. You will have someone working on your behalf who is an expert on the SSDI process and who understands the requirements of the Social Security Administration. “Because of our insight and experience, Allsup is able to anticipate the requirements of government examiners and preemptively, fully document your claim to help prevent unnecessary delays,” Bueltemann explained.
4. You can hand off the work of putting together your claim. This can save your time and energy for other concerns and challenges that you need to deal with, including treating your medical condition. Allsup representatives, for example, collect medical records, complete the paperwork, submit records and documents, and regularly contact the SSA on your behalf.
5. You can avoid common mistakes from inexperience with the SSDI process, including underestimating or exaggerating your disability. Sometimes pride can lead people to understate how their disability affects their lives, but the opposite also can happen. Find more on Allsup.com, in the article “Seven Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Social Security Benefits.”
6. If you are denied, you have a team of specialists who have been with you all along the way and will appeal your case, if appropriate. Allsup provides representation through the denials and appeals of your case. “Allsup continues to advocate for our clients throughout the process,” said Ed Swierczek, senior claimant representative. “We continue to ‘knock on the door’ seeking someone to review the case and the evidence to support that case.”
7. You have someone who will answer your questions and clear up the confusion. Allsup offers a customer hotline, a Web site with comprehensive SSDI information, personalized account access for updates on your claim, a live-chat feature, as well as e-mail access for asking questions. Call (800) 279-4357 with any questions.
8. You are in better shape if your case must go to a hearing. As mentioned earlier, Allsup provides representation at all levels of the SSDI process. The SSA reports that nearly 90 percent of applicants have representation by the time they reach the hearing level, so it can be to your benefit to have assistance from the beginning.
9. You have a better chance of avoiding a hearing. Keep in mind that Allsup helps customers receive their benefits at earlier levels of the SSDI application process. In addition, when cases reach the hearing level, they may be awarded without a hearing through an “on the record” decision. At Allsup, nearly 70 percent of claimants who reach the hearing level never have to attend a hearing because judges often make decisions without requiring an oral hearing because of the evidence Allsup presents.
10. You are not alone. By working with a representative, you have a focused partner driven to help you get the benefits you paid for.
To help you evaluate your representation options, Allsup offers a checklist so you make the best decision for you and your family. Find “Choosing an SSDI Representative” on Allsup.com.
For more information about how Allsup can help you breakthrough the disability backlog, and access to additional services that accommodate financial and healthcare needs while you are waiting to receive your benefits, visit http://www.Allsup.com.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and workers’ compensation services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, 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.