BELLEVILLE, IL--(Marketwire - Oct 26, 2012) - During the third quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities showed a notable increase to 13.7 percent, from 12.9 percent in the previous quarter. 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.
People with disabilities continue to experience higher levels of unemployment than those without disabilities. The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk reveals that people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate 73 percent higher than those without disabilities, with third-quarter rates at 13.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. Allsup has conducted this quarterly study since the first quarter of 2009. The full study is available at http://www.allsup.com/Portals/4/allsup-study-income-at-risk-q3-12.pdf.
The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that 726,026 people with disabilities applied for SSDI during the third quarter of 2012, down slightly from the 731,817 who applied in the previous quarter. The third-quarter figure is less than 2 percent lower compared to third-quarter 2011, when 737,468 applications were filed.
To date in 2012, nearly 2.2 million individuals who were no longer able to work due to a disability applied for SSDI. An estimated 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.
Tricia Blazier, Allsup's personal financial planning manager, said individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits need to act quickly. "Given the backlog, qualified candidates need to apply as soon as possible to minimize the financial impact of a long-term disability," she said. "Social Security disability experts such as Allsup can help individuals to know if they meet the eligibility requirements and help with their claim for Social Security benefits."
A delay in applying for SSDI benefits can lead to a financial crisis for many families. "If you've experienced a work-stopping disability, now is the time to start planning financially," Blazier said. "Social Security disability benefits tend to be significantly lower than work income, but they are an important step in helping families ease the hardship faced when a breadwinner is no longer able to work due to a disability."
Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits
SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded federal insurance program providing individuals with financial resources if they are unable to work for 12 months or longer because of a severe disability, or if they have a terminal condition. They must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. Social Security disability benefits are calculated using the person's earnings history.
Allsup outlines several financial benefits to those who qualify for SSDI:
- Regular monthly income. In September, more than 8.78 million former workers with disabilities received SSDI benefits, with an average monthly benefit of $1,111.27. SSDI recipients will see a slight increase next year because of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced a COLA increase of 1.7 percent resulting in an estimated average monthly benefit of $1,132 for disabled workers.
- Dependent benefits. As of September 2012, there were 1.86 million children of disabled former workers receiving benefits. Dependent children received an average monthly benefit of $329.86 in September 2012.
- Protected retirement benefits. While a person is receiving SSDI benefits, Social Security disability entitlement "freezes" Social Security earnings records. This means these years are not counted when computing future benefits, so recipients' Social Security retirement benefits may be higher than if their earnings were averaged over a greater number of years.
In addition to these monthly income and dependent benefits, SSDI also includes provisions for extending COBRA benefits and eligibility for Medicare 24 months after the date of entitlement to SSDI cash benefits. Once entitled to Medicare, a person also is eligible for prescription drug coverage, or Medicare Part D.
Individuals can determine their Social Security disability benefits using Allsup's free online Social Security benefits calculator. For a free evaluation, or for more information about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, contact Allsup's Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.
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 http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at https://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.