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Allsup explains how workers may not realize they’ve invested in long-term disability coverage through paycheck withholdings.
Belleville, IL (PRWEB) May 17, 2012
Many people in today’s workforce don’t think about disability until an illness or injury prevents them from working. But being knowledgeable about disability insurance is crucial to any person’s financial plan, according to Allsup, which has helped tens of thousands of people receive their Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) benefits. During May, Disability Insurance Awareness Month provides an opportunity to remind people to evaluate their insurance needs and planning in case they can no longer work because of a severe disability.
“Many people are more aware of the value of life insurance and health insurance than disability insurance,” said David Bueltemann, manager of senior claimant representatives at Allsup. “If we assume that someone’s working career may extend for 30 to 40 years or more, there’s a significant chance of experiencing disability with an injury or severe illness.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that up to one-third of Americans are likely to need disability insurance sometime before their retirement years. The Council for Disability Awareness reports that one in three workers have private disability insurance through an employer or private plan. A majority of workers, about 100 million, do not. In addition, nearly 153 million people are insured for Social Security Disability Insurance through their FICA taxes.
“It’s true that many workers’ disabilities may be short-term stoppages, for a few months, but thousands more experience longer periods out of the workforce,” Bueltemann explained. “For example, someone in a car accident that requires two or three years for recovery and rehabilitation still may need the support of disability insurance until they can return to work.”
Social Security Disability Benefits: What’s Involved
On average, more than 200,000 Americans apply for SSDI each month. More than 225,000 people filed for benefits in April.
“We find many people learn about Social Security Disability Insurance after they become disabled,” Bueltemann said. “Prior to that, they simply never considered the possibility that they might experience a disability, or didn’t take the likelihood too seriously and didn’t make any financial plans.”
He added that most people are not familiar with SSDI unless they have a specific need to know about the benefit. SSDI is funded by payroll tax withholdings and is a federal disability insurance program managed by the SSA. A portion of withheld FICA taxes provides for SSDI, Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits.
SSDI provides monthly benefits to people unable to work because of a severe disability that will last for 12 months or longer, or is terminal.
The SSDI program also provides some little-known added benefits, including automatic Medicare coverage two years after being awarded cash Social Security benefits, as well as Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage eligibility. Beneficiaries also benefit from a freeze that protects their retirement benefits while receiving SSDI. The program also has a provision for dependent benefits and return-to-work incentives.
Many workers don’t realize they have already paid into the federal disability program with their FICA withholdings during their working years, Bueltemann said. “People know they are being taxed, but the education is not there about exactly what these withholdings are for,” he added.
A person’s inability to work is the determining factor in receiving SSDI benefits, but there’s much more to it. There are strict requirements to qualify for the disability insurance program, including medical documentation of the disabling condition. The application process is lengthy and cumbersome, Bueltemann said. Applicants with an experienced Social Security disability representative such as Allsup can benefit from determining their potential eligibility and improve their chances for an SSDI award earlier in the adjudication and review process. It’s not uncommon for claimants to wait one to two years to receive SSDI benefits.
“Choosing an experienced representative such as Allsup to guide you through the process will lessen the stress and improve an applicant’s chance for an SSDI award in less time,” Bueltemann said. “The SSA denies two out of three initial applications. On average, Allsup helps more than 50 percent of claimants who are initial applicants to receive their benefits without having to pursue a disability appeal.”
Find help and information about Social Security disability benefits by contacting Allsup’s Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free SSDI 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. Visit http://www.Allsup.com or connect with Allsup at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.
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