Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) February 04, 2013
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is off to a slower start in fiscal year 2013, reporting an increase in average hearing processing times to nearly a year at the end of the first quarter. Disability allowances also declined significantly in FY 2012 compared to previous years, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services. Both developments underscore the importance of seeking representation early in the Social Security disability application process, Allsup reports.
In the first quarter of FY 2013, the SSA saw an increase in hearing-level processing times from an average 353 days in FY 2012 to 361 days. The federal agency also saw an increase in claims pending at the hearing level, up to 831,304 pending hearings in the first quarter, compared to 823,191 pending hearings at fiscal year-end 2012. SSA regularly reports hearings and appeals data on ssa.gov.
At the same time, SSA data shows Social Security disability examiners are denying a higher percentage of claims at all levels of the process. For example, only 33 percent of benefits were allowed at the initial application level in FY 2012, compared to 37 percent in FY 2009, a decline of 4 percentage points. Even more significant, only 52 percent of Social Security disability benefits were allowed at the hearing level in FY 2012, compared with 63 percent in FY 2009, which is a drop of 11 percentage points.
Seeking representation early in the Social Security disability application process is a simple way for individuals to improve their chances of receiving SSDI benefits more quickly and with less hassle, said David Bueltemann, manager of senior claimant representatives at Allsup.
“Allsup has proven there’s an advantage to having our expert assistance and guidance at all levels of the process,” Bueltemann said. “More than half of our customers receive their benefits at the initial level, compared with about one-third for the national average. At the hearing level, about 80 percent of individuals who hire Allsup to represent them receive their benefits, compared with the national average of 52 percent.”
Social Security Disability Insurance is a federally mandated insurance program that taxpayers and their employers fund through payroll taxes. SSA oversees the program, which has stringent requirements in order to be determined disabled. It is designed to provide monthly benefits to those who have experienced a severe disability and cannot work for 12 months or longer, or who have a terminal condition.
Allsup representatives also can help people with disabilities determine if they are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits before they begin the application process. “It’s important to understand that people can get help before they ever send in a form to the SSA,” Bueltemann said. “Our experts have helped hundreds of thousands of people to better understand the SSDI process and how they may qualify for these benefits.”
For a free evaluation or more information about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, contact Allsup’s Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.
ABOUT ALLSUPAllsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, 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 http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.
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