Knowledge is Power During MS Awareness Week

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Allsup provides insight on SSDI process; offers free posters for March 14-20 observance

Free posters available for MS Awareness Week March 14-20

Free posters available for MS Awareness Week March 14-20

Using a professional representative for the initial application can speed the SSDI process and improve your odds of getting the claim approved earlier.

Dayna Rich noticed an odd numbness in her feet. She was tripping frequently, and the numbness eventually spread to her legs—even walking became difficult. The diagnosis was multiple sclerosis (MS). Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services, helped Rich obtain her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after she had been repeatedly denied when applying on her own.

During MS Awareness Week March 14-20, Allsup is pleased to share insight on the SSDI process and promote a better understanding of MS.

MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS is three times more common in women than men. According to the Office on Women’s Health, most people with MS are mildly affected, but MS can be debilitating in others. Some people with MS lose the ability to write, speak or walk. MS can make it hard to concentrate or remember. Many people with MS also have depression.

Individuals who experience severe symptoms and are unable to continue working, can apply for the SSDI benefits they paid for through their FICA taxes. Unfortunately, nearly half (47 percent) of those with MS who apply are denied at their initial application, according to a recent Social Security Administration (SSA) report.

Due to a tremendous SSDI backlog, individuals will wait months or even years for a hearing. According to the SSA, 84 percent of individuals with MS who make it to the hearing level are ultimately approved for benefits. By then, the majority have secured representation to help them through the hearing process.

Why the discrepancy and added wait time? According to the SSA, it may be due to the progressive nature of MS with impairments worsening over time, or critical medical evidence may not have been available at the initial application.

“Using a professional representative for the initial application can speed the SSDI process and improve your odds of getting the claim approved earlier,” noted Allsup senior claims manager David Bueltemann. “A professional representative is familiar with Social Security rules and regulations and knows how to accurately file an SSDI application and timely appeals. A representative also knows how to fill out the supplemental questionnaires and forms SSA requires. It is a task most people are not familiar with, and it can create a significant amount of stress.”

An Allsup report found that 61 percent of SSDI applicants surveyed had difficulty completing SSA’s forms when filing on their own. Nearly half—48 percent—had difficulty reading or understanding the forms.

Another benefit of using a representative is that they accurately document the disability onset, as well as the changes that take place in an MS case over time. “That builds a credible narrative that Social Security decision-makers need to approve a claim,” Bueltemann said.

Knowledge is power. Allsup offers free presentations and training on the SSDI process, as well as free “Knowledge is Power” MS Awareness Week posters to health organizations, hospitals, clinics and other community groups. Call Karen Hercules-Doerr at (800) 854-1418, ext. 65770, or order posters online at AllsupCares.com.

For more MS information and to learn about MS awareness events near you, call (800) 344-4867 or access your local MS chapter website.

You can read about Dayna Rich’s experience going through the SSDI process by clicking here.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SOCIETY
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. In 2009 alone, through its national office and 50-state network of chapters, the Society devoted over $132 million to programs that enhanced more than one million lives. To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested nearly $36 million to support 375 research projects around the world. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at http://www.nationalMSsociety.org.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 700 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.

“Disability Impairments on Cases Most Frequently Denied by Disability Determination Services and Subsequently Allowed by Administrative Law Judges (A-07-09-19083),” online at http://www.ssa.gov.

Contacts:     
MS Society
Arney Rosenblat    
(212) 476-0436
Arney(dot)rosenblat(at)nmss(dot)org

Allsup
Karen Hercules-Doerr
(800) 854-1418, ext. 65770
k(dot)hercules-doerr(at)allsupinc(dot)com

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Arney Rosenblat
MS Society
(212) 476-0436
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Karen Hercules-Doerr
Allsup
(800) 854-1418 65770
Email >
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