Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) March 28, 2013
The Social Security Administration (SSA) closed 19 field offices during fiscal year 2012, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation. The consolidations and closings are part of cost-saving efforts by the SSA.
“As more offices are consolidated and closed, it’s important that Social Security Disability Insurance applicants understand they can find answers to questions and get help from an expert representative like Allsup,” said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of claims for Allsup. “You can learn about filing your SSDI claim, find out if you meet qualifications for Social Security benefits, and get assistance with your disability appeal.”
Along with office closings, the SSA has reduced business hours at field offices and reduced overtime. Since FY 2010, the federal agency has consolidated 41 field offices and closed 490 contact stations, according to Carolyn Colvin, SSA acting commissioner, during recent Congressional testimony.
Offices closed in FY 2012 include Norwalk, Conn., and Greenfield, Mass., in the Boston region; Montclair, N.J., and Chinatown, East New York, Long Beach and Rome, N.Y., in the New York region; Pittsburgh Northside and Jenkintown, Pa., and Shepherd Park (Washington, D.C.), in the Philadelphia region; Palatka, Fla., Moultrie and Swainsboro, Ga., Biloxi, Miss., and Burlington, N.C., in the Atlanta region; Clinton, Iowa, Moberly, Mo., and Beatrice, Neb., in the Kansas City region; and Seattle Metro, Wash., in the Seattle region.
SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the SSA. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability. The impairment must be expected to last for more than 12 months or be terminal. Individuals must have paid FICA payroll taxes to be eligible.
Social Security Disability Insurance: Ten Reasons To Hire A Representative
Allsup outlines common reasons to hire an SSDI representative. They include:
1. Learn if they are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits. The SSA uses multiple criteria and strict rules to determine disability insurance claims. “Unlike Social Security retirement, this is not an automatic decision based on age,” Stein said. “It’s much more complex.” Allsup offers a checklist of items and free SSDI evaluation services. Find more by calling (800) 678-3276.
2. Improve the chances of receiving benefits with the initial application. People who use Allsup’s representation services are more likely than the national average to receive their benefits without needing a disability appeal.
3. Rely on SSDI experts to develop the claim. “Similar to your tax advisor, your SSDI representative must be an expert on this program, which has multiple levels and requirements,” Stein said. Many Allsup staff members previously worked for state Disability Determinations Services and Social Security offices.
4. Hand over the worry and stress of completing paperwork and dealing with the SSA. “It’s important to save your time and energy for your medical condition and your family,” Stein said. Allsup representatives complete paperwork, track appointments, contact doctors and regularly contact the SSA.
5. Avoid common mistakes during the SSDI process. “A representative can help you by providing an objective evaluation of how your disability is affecting your life,” Stein said. “Allsup experts also can help identify and substantiate several conditions. For example, it’s not uncommon to have a combination of impairments, such as arthritis and mobility issues, as well as chronic pain and depression under treatment.”
6. Get help if the claim is denied. A specialist is at hand to help with the disability appeal and next steps of the case. “One of the most discouraging aspects of SSDI is that nearly two-thirds of applicants are routinely denied at the initial application level,” Stein said. But receiving a denial is not a reason to give up.
7. Receive extra support during the SSDI process. Allsup offers its Allsup Place® online community, live chat with representatives and a forum. Other services include an online Resource Center, assistance with financial and mortgage questions, and support through groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and National Multiple Sclerosis Society, among others. Visit Allsup.com to learn more.
8. Improve the chances to avoid a hearing. Allsup experts help many customers receive their benefits at earlier levels of the SSDI application process. Also, when claims reach the hearing level, benefits may be awarded with an on-the-record decision. This means, based on the information Allsup presents, judges may approve benefits without a hearing.
9. Have someone at their side for the hearing. “Our professional representatives help prepare claimants for their hearing and attend the hearing with them,” Stein said. At the hearing level, nearly 80 percent of claimants have a representative like Allsup advocating for their claim.
10. Avoid going through the experience alone. The Social Security Disability Insurance process is complicated and highly regulated. There are a lot of hurdles and it can be extremely frustrating and stressful. With a representative, individuals have someone on their side.
“Many people want help from someone they can trust to work hard on their behalf,” Stein said. “At Allsup, we take pride in providing the true help people with disabilities need and deserve.”
To determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, call the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free SSDI eligibility evaluation.
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. Visit http://www.Allsup.com or connect with Allsup at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.