SOURCE: Allsup

Allsup

July 18, 2013 09:45 ET

Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities on the Rise in Second Quarter, Allsup Finds

Total Social Security Disability Insurance Applications Decline Nearly 6 Percent From a Year Ago; Allsup Outlines What SSDI Participants Need to Know About Returning to Work

BELLEVILLE, IL--(Marketwired - Jul 18, 2013) -  The unemployment rate for people with disabilities climbed during the second quarter of 2013, while applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits continued to stabilize -- dropping nearly 6 percent compared to the first half of 2012, according to a quarterly study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance representation, veterans disability appeal and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that for the second quarter of 2013, individuals with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate nearly 90 percent higher than people with no disabilities. People with disabilities averaged an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent compared with 7.2 percent for workers without disabilities, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The full report is available at http://www.allsup.com/Portals/4/allsup-study-income-at-risk-q2-13.pdf.

"The U.S. job market carries ongoing challenges for people with disabilities who continue to encounter significantly higher unemployment rates," said Tricia Blazier, personal financial planning manager at Allsup. "But the fact is, individuals with disabilities certainly want to work, and -- if possible -- earn a living and support their families despite the challenges they face."

Halfway through the year, the overall job report looked a little brighter, with nearly 200,000 jobs added in the month of June, according to the BLS. The trend in temporary help services also spiked, with more than 10,000 temporary positions posted in June. 

SSDI Applications Continue To Level Off
The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that 691,519 people with disabilities applied for SSDI during the second quarter of 2013, up slightly from 680,292 who applied in the previous quarter. However, the quarterly figure is a 5.5 percent reduction from the second quarter of 2012, when 731,817 people applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Year-to-date, 1.37 million applications have been filed for SSDI benefits, down 5.8 percent from 1.45 million at the end of the second quarter in 2012. Still, there are more than 2 million SSDI claims pending, and there is an average wait time of 373 days at the hearing level alone, according to Social Security Administration (SSA).

"Workers with disabilities who receive SSDI often become concerned that if they try to go back to work and fail, they'll lose their benefits," Blazier said. "This is especially troubling when it can take several months or even years to receive their initial SSDI benefits."

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is working on several employment initiatives for people with disabilities. The Disability Employment Initiative is a collaborative effort with 23 states nationwide. Participating states include: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, ODEP reported more than $63 million had been provided through the Disability Employment Initiative to connect job seekers with disabilities to employment. The agency is expected to share results from this initiative in fiscal year 2014. In addition, ODEP's "What can YOU do?" Campaign includes a website that provides employment resources for people with disabilities.

Know Employment Options When Receiving SSDI
To qualify for SSDI, people with disabilities must meet very strict requirements, including the inability to perform work they previously did and/or the inability to perform other occupations. Also, the disability must be expected to last at least one year or is terminal.

Although most people with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits are unable to return to work, the SSA offers incentives to support individuals who want to return to the workforce.

"The good news is there are rules that allow disability beneficiaries to explore a return to work -- if they are able -- while still maintaining their Social Security benefits," Blazier said.

Under Social Security rules, a person can work and maintain SSDI benefits by:

  • Remaining below a certain earnings amount. In 2013, an individual with earnings below $750 per month does not trigger a trial work period.
  • Engaging in a trial work period. A trial work period is defined by the SSA as working nine months over a consecutive 60-month period, during which the individual earns at least $750 per month. Self-employed individuals must have earnings of at least $750 per month and more than 80 hours per month in their business. Individuals are allowed to work under these circumstances and still receive full SSDI benefits. 
  • Taking part in the extended period of eligibility. Following a trial work period, individuals may work and still receive benefits for 36 months if earnings are not substantial. The earnings limit in 2013 is $1,040 per month and $1,740 per month for those who are blind.

If benefits end because of substantial earnings, individuals still have five years within which they can restart benefits without having to reapply. This is known as an expedited reinstatement provision, and it is based on the claimant's medical condition worsening (the same or a related impairment) to the point he or she cannot continue working.

In addition, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) continue at least 93 months after the nine-month trial work period. The SSA also offers free job-related employment support through its Ticket to Work program, which includes vocational rehabilitation, training and job referrals.

In a recent report, "Allsup Study of Workplace Injuries," Allsup's analysis looks at the rate of workplace injuries across states and industries in the U.S., and the relevance to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Injuries are the sixth-leading cause of SSDI claims, according to SSA data. Visit WorkInjury.Allsup.com to see Allsup's report on injuries in the workplace.

For more information or a free Social Security Disability Insurance evaluation, call the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.

ABOUT ALLSUP
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. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, 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.

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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