SOURCE: Allsup

July 25, 2011 09:30 ET

Income at Risk: Unemployment Rates Rise Sharply for People With Disabilities, Allsup Finds

Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities Highest in Nearly Two Years; Social Security Disability Applications Significantly Higher Than First Quarter and a Year Ago

BELLEVILLE, IL--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2011) - During second quarter 2011, unemployment rates for people with disabilities spiked and continued to outpace the unemployment rate for other workers, according to a quarterly study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that for second quarter 2011, people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate more than 80 percent higher than people with no disabilities. Specifically, the unemployment rate for April 2011 through June 2011 averaged 15.7 percent for people with disabilities, compared to 8.6 percent for people with no disabilities, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, on a monthly basis, the June 2011 unemployment rate for people with disabilities reached 16.9 percent. This ties the highest recorded monthly rate, set in August 2009, since the BLS began reporting unemployment for people with disabilities nearly three years ago.

"While people with disabilities continued to face employment challenges, it appeared earlier in the year that there was a slight easing, but that has now diminished," said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center.

"People with disabilities generally have higher unemployment," Gada said. "Those who have been searching in a market with minimal job growth may be out of work longer, their conditions worsening and their financial resources and employment prospects diminished."

The BLS also reported that 44.4 percent of individuals unemployed in June had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. This compares to 45.5 percent who had been jobless for 27 weeks or more during June 2010.

Number of New SSDI Claims Jumps

After stabilizing in the first quarter, the Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that during second quarter 2011, the number of people with disabilities unable to work and applying for SSDI increased to 760,621, up nearly 6 percent compared with last quarter.

June 2011 applications of 287,287 contributed significantly to the second quarter increase and were 27 percent higher than a year ago. About 1.8 million SSDI claims are pending in the Social Security review process with an estimated average cumulative wait time of more than 700 days.

Early Representation Critical To Receiving SSDI Benefits

People with disabilities may continue to seek employment only to find their conditions worsening to the point they are not able to return to work. They then may face many months or years attempting to secure their Social Security benefits. However, they can receive their SSDI benefits faster if they have representation from the beginning of the SSDI application process. For example, 55 percent of Allsup claimants are awarded benefits at the initial application level compared to just 35 percent nationally.

"People with disabilities are often already facing a precarious financial and health situation," Gada said. "Delaying the SSDI benefits they have worked for and deserve puts them at even greater risk."

In addition to an earlier award, representation from the start of the Social Security Disability Insurance application process can help individuals:

  • Find out before they apply if they are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits. In evaluating a person's application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows a five-step sequential process and makes decisions based on medical documentation, work history, age and other factors. A representative can help them quickly evaluate their work history and medical information to determine before they apply if they are likely to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Receive specialized expertise and hands-on help from the beginning. Delays are often caused because people don't complete or inaccurately complete the necessary forms. Professional representation ensures expert, knowledgeable help in completing the application and Activities of Daily living forms.
  • Avoid waiting in Social Security telephone and office lines. A professional representative can handle the paperwork, answer questions and submit the individual's claim. For example, more than eight out of 10 Allsup claimants never need to visit an SSA office, easing what can be a significant hardship for many people with disabilities.
  • Improve likelihood of getting their benefits. Having a representative who makes certain the person is likely to qualify for SSDI benefits and then providing them support improves a person's likelihood of being awarded. In fact, Allsup has a 98 percent success rate among customers who complete the process with Allsup.

Anyone with questions about eligibility for Social Security benefits can contact the Allsup 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 nearly 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, visit www.Allsup.com.

The information provided is not intended as a substitute for legal or other professional services. Legal or other expert assistance should be sought before making any decision that may affect your situation.

Editor's Note: Details on the Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk are available at http://www.allsup.com/Portals/4/allsup-study-income-at-risk-q2-11.pdf.

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