SOURCE: Allsup


July 12, 2012 13:20 ET

Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities Reaches Three-Year Low, Allsup Finds

Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities Drops, SSDI Applications Stabilize; Allsup Outlines What People With Disabilities Need to Know About Returning to Work

BELLEVILLE, IL--(Marketwire - Jul 12, 2012) - The unemployment rate for people with disabilities dropped to its lowest quarterly rate in more than three years during the second quarter of 2012 and applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits continued to stabilize, according to a study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services.

However, unemployment among people with disabilities remains high -- the Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate nearly 65 percent higher than the rate for people with no disabilities for the second quarter of 2012. Allsup has been conducting this quarterly study since the first quarter of 2009. The full study is available at

The unemployment rate averaged 12.9 percent for people with disabilities and 7.8 percent for people without disabilities during the second quarter of 2012. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has not been below 13 percent since the fourth quarter of 2008, the first full quarter the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracked the employment situation for people with disabilities. These figures are based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the BLS. The agency also reported that 41.9 percent of individuals unemployed in June 2012 had been jobless for 27 weeks or more, compared to 44.4 percent during June 2011.

"Despite the additional hurdles that people with disabilities face, they want to work and earn a living if they are able to do so," said Tricia Blazier, personal financial planning manager at Allsup. "For those with the most severe disabilities, however, their health may worsen so that it is impossible to do so."

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that 731,817 people with disabilities applied for SSDI during the second quarter of 2012, up slightly from 724,746 who applied in the previous quarter. However, that is nearly 4 percent lower than the 760,631 SSDI applications filed the second quarter of last year.

In 2011, approximately 3 million individuals were unable to continue working because of a disability and applied for SSDI. Nearly 1.8 million SSDI claims are pending with an average cumulative wait time of more than 800 days, according to Allsup's analysis of the Social Security disability backlog.

"After waiting months or years to receive SSDI benefits, people may be concerned that if they try to return to work and fail, they will lose their benefits and have to start the process all over again," Blazier said. "However, there are rules that allow disability beneficiaries to return to work while still maintaining their benefits to assist them in the transition if they are able to return to the workforce."

Knowing Employment Options when Receiving SSDI

People with disabilities who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are provided incentives to return to work.

There also are several government and private programs to assist them in doing so. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report to Congress issued in June identified 45 federal programs that supported employment for people with disabilities. That report, however, indicated that many of the programs overlap and more needs to be understood about their effectiveness in helping get people back to work.

"It's important to look at all available resources -- both public and private -- and evaluate which may be most beneficial to you," Blazier said.

Under Social Security rules, a person can work while still maintaining SSDI benefits by:

  • Earning a minimum amount. For people who earn less than $720 a month (in 2012), employment won't affect their benefits.

  • Undertaking a trial work period. During the trial work period, a person is allowed to work for at least nine months over a consecutive 60-month period and still receive full SSDI benefits. During those nine months, the person earns at least $720 per month (in 2012) or is self-employed and spends more than 80 hours per month in his or her own business.

  • Participating in the extended eligibility period. After the trial work period, individuals have 36 months during which they can work and still receive benefits if earnings are not "substantial." For 2012, earnings are substantial if they are $1,010 or more (or $1,690 for people who are blind).

Even after benefits stop (because of substantial earnings), people still have five years in which they can have their benefits reinstated -- if they must stop working because of their disability. This grace period does not require an additional SSDI application. Medicare Part A continues at least 93 months after the nine-month trial work period.

The Social Security Administration also offers the Ticket to Work program, which provides free job-related employment support, including vocational rehabilitation, training and job referrals.

Anyone with questions about SSDI eligibility can contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free evaluation.

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 or visit Allsup on Facebook at

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.

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