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Income at Risk: Unemployment Rates Rise Sharply for People with Disabilities, Allsup Finds


Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) October 20, 2011

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has climbed for the fourth consecutive quarter to reach the highest rate since tracking began in 2008, according to a study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate more than 85 percent higher than the rate for people with no disabilities for the third quarter of 2011. Specifically, the unemployment rate averaged 16.3 percent for people with disabilities, compared with 8.8 percent for people with no disabilities. These figures are based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The quarterly rate hasnt been this high since reporting of the disability unemployment rate began in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that 737,468 people with disabilities applied for SSDI during the third quarter of 2011, down 3 percent from the previous quarter. Year-to-date, nearly 2.22 million people have filed disability claims, compared with nearly 2.23 million applicants by the same time last year. Since the fourth quarter of 2007, when the recession began, more than 10.8 million people have applied for SSDI. Nearly 1.8 million SSDI claims are pending with an average cumulative wait time of more than 800 days, based on Allsups analysis of the Social Security disability backlog.

Disability applications have increased significantly over the past few years, said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. The economy is one factor, with some people with disabilities never able to return to work after a layoff. Another factor is the aging population, with most baby boomers now in their late 40s to early 60s, Gada said. The average SSDI applicant is nearly 53 years old.

Some people with disabilities who are unable to work may put off applying for SSDI, and older individuals may simply wait to age into Social Security retirement benefits. Either of these actions, however, can result in a serious financial impact, both now and in the future.

People who are qualified need to understand the SSDI process, apply as soon as possible and prepare themselves and their families for the likelihood of living on a significantly reduced income, Gada cautioned.

Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits

SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded federal insurance program providing individuals with financial resources if they are unable to work for 12 months or longer because of a severe disability, or if they have a terminal condition. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. Social Security disability benefits are calculated using the persons earnings history.

Allsup outlines several financial benefits to those who qualify for SSDI: