We know these are challenging times for people seeking their SSDI benefits
Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) March 30, 2009
Some people with disabilities still are experiencing waits as long as two to four years for decisions on their Social Security disability benefits, according to Allsup , which represents tens of thousands of people in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process each year.
The backlog in the SSDI program continues to face challenges with rising applications and a strained work force at the Social Security Administration. The SSA Office of Inspector General issued a report stating that some individuals may wait as long as one year for a review of their case at the initial level, as long as 16 months at the reconsideration level (level 2), and four years at the hearing level (level 3). The U.S. Committee on Ways and Means also held a hearing March 24 on the continuing Social Security disability backlog.
"We know these are challenging times for people seeking their SSDI benefits," said Jim Allsup, CEO of Allsup, which provides financial and healthcare-related services to people with disabilities that prevent them from working. "Our specialists continue to work hard to help claimants receive their benefits as quickly as possible. We know that those who get representation can see their awards come through faster because they have our professional assistance."
Additionally, the SSA has reported plans to continue addressing the backlog with initiatives such as the compassionate allowances program and hiring more staff. The backlog now numbers more than 765,000 people who are waiting at the hearing level of the process.
"It's discouraging to know that people continue to endure such long waits for their benefits," Mr. Allsup said. "Allsup will continue to do what we can to represent claimants effectively, getting them through the process quickly and support people during their period of waiting for a decision from government examiners and judges."
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that operates separately from the retirement and SSI programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are 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.
How Allsup Can Help
Individuals planning to apply for SSDI, or who have been working through the process alone, can find assistance through Allsup in several ways, including:
- Education about the SSDI process. Allsup specialists explain the SSDI process and offer you a variety of materials through Allsup.com. Sections offer an overview of SSDI, answers to frequently asked questions about SSDI, key benefits of representation, tips for getting through the backlog and more. Allsup also provides its Disability Evaluation Center if you're not certain you are eligible for SSDI, plus a live chat feature to ask questions. Call the center at (800) 279-4357.
- Assistance with your SSDI application. Allsup representatives can help you from the very beginning of your application, before you've filed the first piece of information through your local Social Security office. They also can help you with the next steps if you've been denied benefits. Because of the wait many people are experiencing, Allsup recommends that qualified individuals apply for SSDI benefits at the earliest opportunity and seek assistance with their claim. To read more about qualifying, visit FAQs - Social Security Disability Insurance.
- Personalized support through Allsup Place. As an Allsup customer, you can get personalized, real-time information and updates about your claim and where it is in the SSDI process through this online community. You can use your Allsup Place account to update your claim and medical information, and find support from various resources, such as support groups and advocacy organizations.
- Financial and tax information. When you face a long-term disability and quit working, your financial picture comes into much sharper focus. Allsup knows this and provides comprehensive information to assist you and your family. This includes information on managing your income, increasing your cash flow and evaluating your expenses, as well as pursuing unclaimed property that could help your financial situation. Go to the Financial Matters section on Allsup.com.
- Healthcare insights. Maintaining treatment for your injury, chronic disease or condition also is important during this time. Allsup provides materials on dealing with healthcare costs and offers an online resource center. Find more about drug assistance, COBRA coverage and Medicare at: Disability and Managing Healthcare Costs.
These are just a few of the resources Allsup offers. "But most importantly, we offer our long history and expertise with the SSDI process," Mr. Allsup said. "We've helped thousands of people get their SSDI benefit, and we can help you."
Allsup, Belleville, Ill., is a leading nationwide provider of financial and healthcare related services to people with disabilities. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Allsup has helped more than 110,000 people receive their entitled Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits. Allsup employs more than 550 professionals who deliver services directly to consumers and their families, or through their employers and long-term disability insurance carriers. For more information, visit http://www.Allsup.com.
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5065
Dan Allsup, ext. 5760
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