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Rising Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities

  • Date: 2012/04/18 (Rev. 2013/06/17)
  • Allsup
  • Synopsis : People with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate nearly 74 percent higher than the rate for people with no disability.

Main Document

Income at Risk: Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities Back on the Rise, Allsup Finds - Unemployment Rate for People With Disabilities Spikes in First Quarter; Social Security Disability Applications Up Slightly From Same Time 2011.

ALLSUP - 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, visit www.Allsup.com

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities climbed back above 14 percent during the first quarter of 2012 after dropping significantly at the end of 2011, according to a study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study:

Income at Risk shows that people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate nearly 74 percent higher than the rate for people with no disabilities for the first quarter of 2012. Allsup has been conducting this quarterly study since the first quarter of 2009. The full study is available at www.allsup.com/Portals/4/allsup-study-income-at-risk-q1-12.pdf

The unemployment rate averaged 14.6 percent for people with disabilities and 8.4 percent for people with no disabilities during the first quarter of 2012. This compares to 13.2 percent for people with disabilities and 8.1 percent for people with no disabilities during the fourth quarter of 2011. These figures are based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also reported that 42.5 percent of individuals unemployed in March 2012 had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. This compares to 45.5 percent during March 2011.

"People with disabilities often face a much greater challenge in securing employment," said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. "Their health condition may make it difficult to continue to work for extended periods, or it worsens so they are forced out of the labor market entirely."

The Allsup Disability Study:

Income at Risk shows that 724,746 people with disabilities applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) during the first quarter of 2012. This is up significantly from the 660,712 people who applied in the previous quarter, but just slightly above 720,119 applicants in the first quarter of 2011.

Overall, in 2011, nearly 2.9 million individuals were unable to continue to work 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.

Many individuals fall below the national poverty line and face significant financial hardships while awaiting their SSDI benefits. According to findings from an Allsup Disability Finance poll released earlier this month, people most commonly rely on friends and family to help them through, but nearly two-thirds of respondents report having sold personal belongings and many use various other means to try to make ends meet.

"Bankruptcies, foreclosures and other devastating financial hazards are too common among people with disabilities," Gada said. "To help minimize these hardships, it's important to apply for SSDI benefits as soon as possible and to seek representation to help navigate the SSDI process from the outset."

Five Reasons to Seek Early SSDI Representation

There are several advantages to having a Social Security disability representative, especially at the initial application stage. These include:

  • Find out before they apply if they are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits. When 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 review this information to determine if the person is likely to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, before they apply.
  • 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 (ADL) forms.
  • Improve likelihood of an early award. For example, 52 percent of Allsup claimants are awarded benefits at the initial application level compared to just 34 percent nationally.
  • 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, 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 the likelihood of receiving 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 them.

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.

Allsup also provides free financial planning tools to help people better manage their finances while awaiting SSDI benefits at www.allsup.com/personal-finance

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