Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) March 15, 2012
The Social Security Administration (SSA) began issuing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits electronically to new recipients last year, as the U.S. Treasury Department phases out paper checks. Effective March 1, 2013, all Social Security beneficiaries will receive benefits electronically, and beneficiaries should plan accordingly, advises Allsup, which represents thousands of people in the SSDI application process each year.
If youre receiving Social Security disability or retirement benefits by check now, you have a few months left to switch to electronic payment through an account of your choice, explained Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center.
Beneficiaries must choose either direct deposit into a traditional bank or credit union account or deposit onto a payment card, such as a debit card. Those receiving paper checks now can make the changeover to electronic deposit prior to March 1, 2013, by visiting their bank, credit union or savings and loan. The government estimates stopping paper benefit checks will save Social Security $ 1 billion over the next decade.
SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability (injury, illness or condition) that is expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal. Individuals pay for the federal insurance program through their FICA taxes.
Social Security Disability & Common Questions
Newcomers to the SSDI program often have questions about the process, the length of time involved and the option of choosing a representative to advocate for their disability claim. Below, Allsup provides answers to some of the more common questions:
1. How do I know if Im eligible for SSDI benefits?
There are several factors important to seeking Social Security disability benefits. First, the person must be insured. Generally, this means having worked and paid into the program through payroll taxes (or FICA taxes) for five of the last 10 years. The applicant must have been disabled before reaching Social Security retirement age, or 65-67. He or she also must meet the SSAs definition of disability. Generally, a severe mental or physical impairment must keep someone from working for 12 months or longer, or it is terminal. For those who are uncertain if they are eligible for SSDI benefits, Allsup offers a free, no-obligation Social Security disability evaluation. Call the Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.
2. When should I apply for SSDI benefits?
There is no required waiting period before applying for SSDI benefits. A common mistake is waiting too long to apply for Social Security disability benefits when you are clearly eligible and likely to qualify, Gada said. You or your family may experience increasing financial difficulties as you wait through the disability review process, which itself can last longer than one or two years.
3. Why should I ask Allsup to help me get SSDI?
Allsup can help someone find out before they apply if they are likely to qualify for SSDI benefits. In addition, claimants are more likely to get their SSDI benefits faster. Allsup is able to help more customers receive their SSDI awards with their initial applications (52 percent compared to 34 percent national average). Applicants can avoid waiting in Social Security telephone and office lines. The SSDI representative also assists with paperwork, compiling medical documentation and work history. You can receive Allsups expert SSDI help from the beginning of your disability claim, Gada said. Allsup experts will continue to advocate for you throughout the denial and appeal process as well.
According to the SSA, most people have a representative on their side at the hearing level. Its to your benefit to get help from the beginning and possibly avoid a denial and receive your benefits earlier, Gada added. He also pointed out that Allsup does not charge any fees unless an SSDI claim is awarded, and that fee is set by the SSA.
4. What should I do if Ive already been denied benefits?
Experiencing a denial is common, since the SSA denies two-thirds of all initial applications. For thousands of people who have already attempted their SSDI application on their own, the denial is frustrating. But they still have the opportunity to get representation. When it comes to a disability appeal, an experienced Allsup representative will prepare the claimant for, and represent him or her, at the hearing, no matter where they live.
These are just a few of the common questions people have about applying for SSDI benefits. We receive thousands of calls every day from people considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, Gada said. Because you likely havent done this before, we know you have a lot of questions. Allsup professionals specialize in the SSDI process. Weve used our expertise to help tens of thousands of people receive their benefits as quickly as possible, with less stress, and provided true help along the way.
Find answers to other common questions about Social Security disability on Allsup.com. To reach someone directly, contact Allsups 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 http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.