Social Security Has Fewer Workers, May Impact Disability Claims Processing Times, Allsup Reports
Belleville, IL (PRWEB) March 19, 2013
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) staffing continues to decline. If budgetary restrictions continue, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) processing times may worsen, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of SSDI representation, veterans disability appeal and Medicare plan selection services.
The SSA recently reported employment of 64,538 as of December 2012, compared with 70,270 employees in December 2010. This loss of more than 5,700 employees highlights the impact of ongoing federal budget restrictions.
“The SSA handles numerous federal responsibilities, including assigning Social Security numbers, and those duties continue to expand, such as a new role in the national rollout of healthcare exchanges with the Affordable Care Act,” said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of claims for Allsup. “SSA’s mounting responsibilities are likely to be a setback to the progress made for Social Security disability claimants and highlight the need for SSDI representation like Allsup.”
SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the SSA that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Eligibility criteria include experiencing a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal; be under full retirement age (age 65 or older), and insured under the program. Individuals pay for coverage through FICA payroll taxes while they are working.
Seeking professional representation such as Allsup, which has helped more than 200,000 people with disabilities receive their Social Security benefits, can greatly improve someone’s chances of a successful outcome, Stein said. “If your medical and work histories are incomplete, or if your application has errors, SSA likely isn’t going to have the resources to help you straighten things out and your claim can be denied,” he added.
Social Security Disability Representation: Six Advantages
Allsup outlines six important reasons for working with an SSDI representative:
1. Have a well-documented claim. Professional SSDI representatives know what SSA disability examiners require in order to authorize SSDI benefits. With help from the beginning, applicants have a better chance of receiving their benefits with their initial application. Allsup helps more than half of its customers (52 percent) receive benefits without a disability appeal, compared to the national average 33 percent approval rate.
2. Receive benefits faster and possibly at a lower cost. With disability insurance assistance from the beginning, it may be possible to avoid the appeals process and additional processing times. For example, the national average wait time for a hearing is 361 days. Those awarded at the application level typically have a lower representation fee.
3. Benefit from expertise with the SSDI process. Most SSDI applicants will apply to the program once in their lives, while an Allsup representative has handled this process numerous times. SSDI representatives are skilled at noticing additional impairments that may affect the claim and can provide expert guidance on further documenting the person’s inability to work and qualification for SSDI benefits.
4. Avoid stress and reduce the impact on health. An Allsup report of SSDI claimant experiences found that applicants experienced significant stress—75 percent reported feeling significant or extreme stress—which often is compounded by financial and other difficulties. In addition, 53 percent of respondents said their illness grew worse while waiting to receive SSDI benefits.
5. Ensure the claim moves through the SSDI process. Expert representatives like Allsup will track the claim, ensure it proceeds through the lengthy SSDI process, and assist the SSA with administrative steps along the way. They will ensure an accurate onset date of disability is established for the SSDI claim, and that filing deadlines and medical records requests are met on time.
6. Rely on strong claims expertise and ongoing support during the disability appeal. Even with an experienced expert, many people see their disability applications denied. The Social Security Disability Insurance process is a complex program with numerous regulations. During a disability appeal, Allsup helps claimants move forward, meet deadlines, collect additional medical evidence, keep claimants updated on their status, prepare an authoritative brief for the judge to review and appear on the claimant’s behalf at the hearing. Not all representatives prepare briefs for their claimants, and some representatives charge additional fees for these efforts. Allsup only charges a fee if SSDI benefits are approved. In addition, Allsup is able to request and often receives an SSDI decision “on-the-record,” which means the judge is satisfied with the documentation and the claimant doesn’t have to go to a hearing.
Nearly 80 percent of Social Security disability claimants have a representative by the time they reach the hearing level, according to the SSA.
“The SSDI process is difficult; there’s no way around it. But Allsup helps claimants reduce the struggle, relieve some of that stress during the wait, and helps thousands of people receive the benefits they paid for while working,” Stein said.
For a free evaluation of your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, call (800) 678-3276.
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.