Skip to comments.Clients need help filing Social Security disability claims
Posted on 12/28/2017 9:28:25 AM PST by spintreebob
When financial advisers discuss Social Security benefits, it is usually in the context of counseling clients when to claim retirement benefits and the impact of that decision on the amount of survivor benefits for the remaining spouse.
But one of the Social Security program's most valuable features is disability benefits that are paid to workers and their dependent family members when they are too sick or injured to work.
Yet many advisers are at a loss when it comes to guiding a client through the disability application labyrinth. That's when it's time to call in the pros.
One adviser contacted me recently about his client that is now a quadriplegic following a car accident several years ago. The client receives 24-hour care at home at enormous expense. But it never occurred to the family or the adviser to apply for Social Security disability benefits. The issue only came up when the adviser tried to help the couple apply for Medicare at age 65.
"I hear people all the time talking about not wanting to apply for a handout," said Mike Stein, assistant vice president at Allsup, an Illinois-based firm that represents people filing for disability claims. "It's unfortunate that there is a stigma attached to it," he said, noting that workers have paid for these benefits through their payroll taxes over their entire career. "It's like paying car insurance premiums for 20 years but never submitting a claim when you have an accident."
More than 10.6 million people including 8.8 million disabled workers and their 1.8 million family members receive Social Security disability benefits. That represents about 16% of total Social Security beneficiaries. Nearly 90% of American workers under age 64 in covered employment are protected in the event of a severe and prolonged disability. The average Social Security disability benefit in 2017 is about $1,200 per month.
The Social Security Administration estimates that one in four 20-year-olds will be disabled before their full retirement age of 67 and two-thirds of the private-sector workforce has no private long-term disability insurance.
Given how a severe disability or terminal illness could disrupt a family's carefully laid financial plans, it would be wise for financial advisers to develop a list of resources where they can refer clients for help should the need arise.
Applying for Social Security is a lengthy and difficult process. In general, an applicant must meet two different earnings tests: A recent work test, based on age at the time of disability; and a duration of work test to show that the individual worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits. For workers age 31 or older, they must have worked five out of the 10 years before their disability began. Younger workers face a less stringent duration test.
After filing an initial application, most workers wait four to six months for a response and Social Security denies two out of three requests, meaning many legitimately disabled people are denied benefits. Applicants have 60 days to appeal. Social Security then takes another look at the case. This step usually takes three to five months and the approval rate hovers around 20%.
At that point, an applicant can appeal an adverse decision before an administrative law judge. There is a backlog of more than 1 million pending cases. The average wait at the hearing level for people who have already been denied benefits twice is 605 days.
In 2008, Social Security implemented the Compassionate Allowance initiative (CAL) to fast-track individuals with certain conditions through the disability determination process by prioritizing their disability claims. Since then, Social Security has expanded its list of CAL conditions from 50 to 225.
But the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently found that the Social Security Administration needs to develop a better method for handling the CAL initiative. Many disabling conditions are overlooked, which means these deserving applicants' claims are not expedited and they end up stuck in the lengthy backlog of Americans waiting for hearings.
Due to a lack of accuracy and consistency in the process, a simple typo in an application can cause it to not be flagged as a compassionate allowance at all, even for a condition on the approved list, Mr. Stein explained.
"I encourage people to file for disability benefits as soon as they become disabled and get an expert involved early," Mr. Stein said. "The sooner you get in line, the sooner you get to the front of the line."
Firms such as Allsup are paid on a contingency basis only if the client is awarded disability benefits. Fees are regulated at the federal level. The standard fee is 25% of past-due benefits, not to exceed $6,000.
Allsup offers a free online assessment tool for Social Security Disability Insurance eligibility and will flag individuals who qualify under the Compassionate Allowance program.
“we get 40% who have valid claims?”
No, we get 40% who have claims that get approved. They aren’t necessarily valid. SSDI has become notorious as being a program that is abused as a stealth welfare replacement by certain segments of the population, after the welfare reforms of the 90s.
SSDI? You mean White Man Welfare?
There are many who deserve it. How ever the system is so choked, that the deserving who are dying, cannot get it, while the layabouts choke the system.
It was widely rumored that during the Obama Administration SSA field administrators became deathly afraid to reject any black applicant (fearing Moochelle and Eric Holder would soon be up their shorts and ending their career).
If true this meant that the rejection rate for non-black applicants would have to rise substantially to keep their numbers in line. Given that Obama appeared to be using this as another Obamaphone program to take care of his peeps, the rates of fraud likely rose correspondingly.
I spent 5.5 Years the first time I applied (for Neuropathy) via an Attorney. Denied, Denied, Denied and then in front of some psychological nutcase Administrated Law Judge Denied AGAIN!!! That SOB even told the Clerk to stop recording and then went off on some tirade about his father drinking himself to death and basically blamed Me for it!?!? My Lawyer and I are looking at each other going WTF ?
The Lawyer told Me that We could either file a Lawsuit against the fedgov for $5,000.00 out of My pocket and never win or Refile and try again.
So we refile. Six months later I get SSDI for A-Fib... Huh?! What?!? Okay whatever.
So thats My expirence with it.
NO! Its Social Security DISABILITY Income.
IF you are injured at work Workers Comp will pay to retrain you
I have seen people get social security disability who are completely capable of working. Lawyers get involved and tell people howto game the system
Not from what Ive seen
I know several people who have been on it for years. None should be on it. They are in better shape than me. One went on a 5K and I have to decide if it’s worth hobbling to the bathroom.
Before Obama took office in 2009, SSDI had approx 6 million enrollees and by the time Obama left office in 2016 the SSDI roll are about twice that number
Over 60% of SSDI enrollees are fraudulent and SSDI consumes a staggering 145 billion dollars a year - 4 percent of the Federal budget
I have it on good authority that 6 out of the top 50 finishers in a recent San Francisco Bay to Breakers cross country foot race were on SSDI
Sad thing is the gov. wants your SS and personal ID if you try to report fraud. I’ve tried several times but that has stopped me every time.
My understanding is that Social Security Disability is a grueling process and not easy to get. Perhaps the process is a higher bar for white applicants?
$12.7 billion per month. $12.7 billion per month. To the disabled, more power to them, but I believe this is one of the biggest areas of benefits abuse out there.
“If you are injured at work Workers Comp will pay to retrain you”
And as a workers comp case manager, I can assure you that is exactly what will happen-as soon as you have had a vocational evaluation and you are released to return to work, my job is/was to match your transferable skills and your abilities and limitations to compatible occupations-and work with/counsel you to see that you are re-employed in an occupation of your choice and interest.
If, however you show me that you are seeking SSDI benefits for a non-existent disability so you can lie around on your ass while we taxpayers foot the bill, I’m going to see you get busted-it is part of my job. One of the criteria I’m using to make that determination is your use of and requests for prescription psychotropics and/or opiates-it is a major red flag, not to mention a probable sign of substance abuse secondary to injury.
If you hire an attorney-especially one who advertises big disability settlements on TV, etc-I’ll call your employer’s insurance carrier, speak to my fellow adjuster/case manager there, and your case will be closed, period, since you are obviously not interested in returning to full employment status-and you will probably not be getting those benefits you are not entitled to...
That is how it was until the Obama admin f***ed the entire system up to please his entitlement addicted base by making everyone who had a broken thumb or a nightmare last night “disabled” and eligible for SSDI-so now it is what is draining the SS fund we all have paid into in record time. It also became the biggest cash cow for ambulance chasing attorneys-yes, I know that is an oxymoron. It is also a big reason why I work for myself now-the mess that has been made of workers comp makes me want to run screaming into the road...
Just my dos centavos and professional opinion...
Turn them In!
I know what you mean about getting up.
I won’t report them as a private citizen, but I have no problem turning them in to the insurance carrier-they do it without mentioning any case manager’s name-they will have that client-as we say-”watched over and taken care of”-AKA assigning an investigator to monitor their every move and see them busted the minute they lift a lawnmower out of their truck in that side business they run in secret, or put on their running shoes for that marathon they are going to run without a cane and back brace...
Your honesty is so refreshing-clients like you are the reason I keep my credentials up to date...
I am very fond of my workers comp case manager. They (have had several so far) have taken very good care of me. I appreciate all that my company and the case managers have done for me
Even the functional evaluation I was put through
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