More Graduates to Find Employment in 2012, Allsup Advises Workers to Map Out Financial Plans

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Job prospects improve, but chance for disability underscores importance of Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance should be considered just one part of a safety net that also includes employer-provided or private disability plans and personal investments.

There’s good news on the horizon for the Class of 2012. A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers estimates a 10.2 percent increase in college graduates scoring jobs after graduation compared to last year. As they begin to navigate the workforce, young workers should focus on planning for long-term financial security, including a potential disability, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

Starting a new career is a time of promise and possibilities, but there’s a considerable chance statistically that younger workers will contend with a work-stopping injury or illness before they reach full retirement age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that a 20-year-old has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement. Nearly 350,000 people age 31 and younger currently rely on SSDI benefits. Young workers may not realize that part of their Social Security taxes go toward SSDI, or, if they are aware, may never investigate whether these benefits will be enough to support them and their families.

“You should never take your income for granted—making the effort to plan ahead financially is crucial,” said Tricia Blazier, senior specialist for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center®. “No one likes to think about a tragedy causing a work stoppage, but it’s important to think beyond your current circumstances when planning for the future. Social Security Disability Insurance should be considered just one part of a safety net that also includes employer-provided or private disability plans and personal investments.”

SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program that taxpayers and their employers fund through payroll taxes. It is designed to provide monthly benefits to those who have experienced a severe disability and cannot work for 12 months or longer, or who have a terminal condition.

Social Security Disability and Finances
The earlier a serious disability occurs, the less time people have had to prepare financially. That’s why it’s important not to put off planning. “Ideally, as a graduate, you will enter the workforce and enjoy good health and a long and rewarding career,” Blazier said. “However, if you encounter a disability, the current level of Social Security disability benefits earned through your job, while very helpful, probably won’t be enough if you are forced to stop working.”

Following are considerations for graduates examining their financial readiness.

Evaluate private disability insurance and emergency funds. Finding other ways to minimize financial difficulties down the line is imperative. “Check out long-term disability insurance plans that you pay into now, and create an emergency savings fund you truly only use in an emergency,” Blazier said.

Understand SSDI and the potential wait for benefits. Every worker can earn up to four credits annually. Most workers must have earned 40 credits during the past 10 years to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Workers under age 31 may be eligible for disability coverage with as few as six credits in three years. However, relying solely on SSDI could cause severe financial hardship, Blazier added. More than 1.8 million SSDI applicants currently are awaiting review of their claims and disability appeals, according to the SSA. The Social Security disability review process is complex, and some applicants may wait two or more years to be awarded SSDI benefits.

Know current financial circumstances. Those new to the workforce may start off living paycheck to paycheck as they begin their careers, but it’s important to budget and review opportunities for saving. “If you are like 40 percent of the population, you could not go more than three months without income,” Blazier said. “If your only plan in the event of a disability is getting SSDI, you could be setting yourself up for a financial disaster.”

For example, the average monthly SSDI income for someone who is 21 is just $502.67 compared to $1,053.24 for a 50-year-old. However, applying for SSDI is an important part of managing finances in the event of a disability and offers a number of advantages beyond monthly income, including eventual eligibility for Medicare coverage and dependent benefits. With that in mind, it’s beneficial to thoroughly review the SSDI program and learn how best to secure these benefits when they’re needed.

Check out Allsup’s Online Guide to Personal Finance, which helps people with disabilities and their families create a financial blueprint. Parents who now can put college tuition behind them should start saving as well. “Allsup is committed to helping people of all ages map out their next steps, especially in the face of a severe disability that prevents them from working,” Blazier said.

Call Allsup’s Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free disability evaluation.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, 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.

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Rebecca Ray
Allsup
(800) 854-1418 65065
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Tai Venuti
Allsup
(800) 854-1418 68573
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