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Getting Help with Initial Social Security Disability Application Can Speed Access to Benefits
Date:5/10/2010

Allsup survey finds almost nine in 10 SSDI recipients would have found it useful to know representation options before filing their application.

Belleville, IL (Vocus) May 10, 2010 — Many people with disabilities apply for Social Security disability benefits on their own, only to have their application denied, according to Allsup. The Belleville, Ill., company represents tens of thousands of people nationwide in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process each year.

More than 60 percent of initial disability applications are denied, with many of these filed by individuals on their own without expert representation. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that 90 percent of disability applicants have representation at the hearing level, after their application has been denied at least once, showing the importance of seeking representation.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware they can have representation from the outset. In fact, a national survey found that 85 percent of applicants would have found it useful for the SSA to inform them in advance of their options for receiving help with their SSDI application. The survey was conducted with nearly 300 successful SSDI claimants who came to Allsup after having their initial disability applications rejected.

“You put yourself at a disadvantage if you wait until after you’ve been denied to get assistance with your disability claim,” said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of claims at Allsup.

For example, Stein noted, technical errors or mistakes in the original application – common among people applying on their own – typically remain with that application throughout the appeals process, up to the hearing level.

“Having representation, such as Allsup, can mean receiving your disability benefits much faster because your disability and the claim are well-researched, well-documented and thoroughly completed before being submitted,” Mr. Stein said. For example, more than one-half of those who hire Allsup for SSDI representation from the beginning receive their benefits at the initial application level. This is significantly higher than the national average approval rate of just 36 percent.

Additional advantages of choosing SSDI representation early in the process include education, service and support throughout the disability benefits application.

More About Social Security Disability Benefits
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.

To help educate and explain the options for people with disabilities, Allsup has outlined eight benefits of SSDI.

Why You Want Social Security Disability Insurance
1.   Regular monthly income: SSDI provides you with a regular monthly payment based on the taxes you paid while you were employed. It also typically provides annual cost-of-living increases and a portion of your benefits may be tax free.
2.   COBRA extension: You may be able to continue your COBRA benefits an additional 11 months if you receive SSDI benefits. This can help ensure you have coverage until you become Medicare eligible.
3.   Healthcare coverage: Regardless of your age, 24 months after your date of entitlement to SSDI benefits, you become eligible for Medicare. The means you have coverage through Part A (hospital benefits) and Part B (medical benefits). You also have the option of choosing from a variety of Medicare Advantage plans.
4.   Prescription drug coverage: With Medicare eligibility because of your disability, you also become eligible for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan.
5.   Long-term disability (LTD) benefits: If you have private long-term disability insurance, your provider may require you to seek SSDI. LTD coverage is designed to correspond with SSDI benefits, and applying for SSDI could help protect your ability to receive LTD income.
6.   Protected retirement benefits: By receiving Social Security disability benefits, you “freeze” your Social Security earnings record during your period of disability. When you reach retirement age, SSDI ends and you transition to Social Security retirement benefits. Because the years in which you collect SSDI benefits are not counted when computing future benefits, your Social Security retirement benefits may be higher than if your earnings were averaged over a greater number of years.
7.   Dependent benefits: If you receive SSDI benefits and you have a dependent under age 18, he or she also may be eligible for benefits.
8.   Return-to-work incentives: Social Security offers several programs, while still paying you disability benefits, to support you if you become able to return to work.

For more information, answers to your questions or a free Social Security disability evaluation, contact the Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 279-4357.

ABOUT ALLSUP
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 www.Allsup.com.

Contacts:
Rebecca Ray
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5065

Gail Rucker
(800) 854-1418 ext. 8504

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Allsup_Social_Security/disability/prweb3977684.htm.


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