Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) May 5, 2009
More working mothers are becoming disabled and losing their ability to support their families. That means it’s even more important for women to understand the role of Social Security disability insurance, according to Allsup, which represents tens of thousands of people in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process each year.
In the past decade, from 1999 to 2009, the rate of disability for women has grown by about 72 percent compared with nearly 42 percent for men, according to the Social Security Administration. Since 1990, the number of working women who are fully insured for Social Security benefits has grown by 28 percent to 99.7 million women. As of April 2009, 3.6 million women were receiving SSDI benefits as disabled workers.
Disabilities may result from an accident, a chronic disease or worsening condition. Some of the diagnoses affecting women include multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, depression and fibromyalgia.
“Women may not realize they are insured for disability benefits, especially during the period before they experience a severe disability,” said Cindy Ratermann, manager of disability claims specialists at Allsup. “Women who are widows or widows with young children also may qualify for Social Security benefits based on their husband’s work record, so this is another option to consider.”
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that operates separately from the retirement and SSI programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and can no longer work because of a disability (injury, illness or condition) expected to last for at least 12 months or is terminal. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. More details are provided in the SSDI Overview on Allsup.com.
Concerns When Women Can No Longer Work
Women who have been working and supporting their families face enormous difficulties when they can no longer work because of an injury, illness or chronic disease. Allsup offers stories from women in this situation, including a former math teacher and former retail employee, on Allsup.com.
“If you’ve become disabled and must stop working on a long-term basis, you need to look at filing for SSDI benefits as soon as possible,” said Ms. Ratermann, who has more than 20 years experience in the SSDI process, working with a staff of nearly 580 professionals at Allsup.
Women must have a work history and meet certain qualifications to be eligible for SSDI on their own record, including having paid payroll taxes for five of the last 10 years. Having a record of your employment history for the past 15 years is ideal, said Ms. Ratermann. “Your earnings determine what your SSDI benefit would be if the SSA finds you disabled,” she explained.
Keep in mind that the SSDI process can be lengthy, with some claimants’ cases taking two to four years because of the backlog in the disability claims process. More than 2.9 million people are expected to apply for disability benefits in 2009, according to the SSA.
“Women can make this experience easier on themselves by choosing a representative to handle their SSDI claim,” Ms. Ratermann said. Allsup provides representation at all levels of the SSDI application process, including the initial application and, if needed, the hearing before an administrative law judge.
At the hearing level, or level 3, about 90 percent of claimants have a representative. Individuals Allsup represents at the hearing level generally receive an award four months faster than the national average. “It can be to your benefit to get representation from the beginning,” Ms. Ratermann said.
Considering Social Security Disability
There are a number of reasons why a woman should apply for SSDI, including regular monthly income. Additional considerations include:
Medical benefits: Regardless of your age, 24 months after your date of entitlement to SSDI cash benefits, you are eligible for Medicare, including Part A (hospital benefits) and Part B (medical benefits).
Prescription drug coverage: Once you are entitled to Medicare, you are also eligible for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan
COBRA extension: If you receive SSDI benefits, the length of your COBRA benefits could be extended an additional 11 months.
Protected retirement benefits: When you reach retirement age, SSDI ends and you transition to Social Security retirement benefits. Social Security disability entitlement “freezes” Social Security earnings records during your period of disability. Because the years in which you collect SSDI benefits are not counted when computing future benefits, your Social Security retirement benefits may be higher than if your earnings were averaged over a greater number of years.
Dependent benefits: If you receive SSDI benefits and you have a dependent under age 18, he or she may also be eligible for benefits. Benefits also may be paid to your husband on your earnings record if he is age 62 or older; or at any age if he is caring for your child (under age 16).
Insights On Social Security Benefits
Allsup provides representation services for Social Security Disability Insurance, but there are additional considerations for women.
Keep in mind that Social Security offers marginal amount of financial protection to women as a result of their earnings and through their spouse’s earnings, depending on the circumstances. Most people need 10 years of work, or 40 credits earned through payroll taxes, to qualify for benefits.
Today, nearly 60 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits, including SSDI benefits, are women.
Women and earnings. Women are likely to earn less than men during their careers, so their benefits may be lower. For example, in April 2009 the average SSDI benefit for women was about 22 percent lower at $ 920.47 compared to $ 1,188.52 for men. One factor is that many women work as caregivers for family members and children during their earning years. Often, women step out of the work force for years at a time and, over time, pay less toward Social Security.
Women and business ownership. If you and your husband operate a business together, you are entitled to receive Social Security credits as a partner. Even though you may file your income taxes jointly, you should file a separate self-employment report with Social Security. This ensures that you get Social Security benefits from your own work. Otherwise, all the earnings will be reported on your husband’s work record.
Women and additional benefits. Your payroll taxes go toward several programs besides SSDI.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (PRWEB) November 23, 2010
In recent past decades, local support groups were popular for providing connectivity for many people facing mental health and emotional challenges. Today financial, travel, geographical and time constraints make it difficult to access that type of group support. Increasingly people are turning to the internet to benefit from online community connections and collective healing. And now, they can connect with qualified, professional therapists, as well.
The brain-child of experienced psychotherapist Jutta Morris, and staffed by professional licensed clinical therapists from around the globe, mytherapycouch.com is a website that gathers together people with a wide range of concerns from anxiety disorders, bereavement, addictions to relationship troubles. The new online therapy site, launched in July of this year invites people to share their personal concerns and struggles with others in a supportive group environment and forums but also provides access to trained practicing psychologists and therapists.
Aside from being convenient and time-efficient, this new model is more cost effective than face-to-face counseling and protects ones anonymity, according to Jutta Morris, founder of mytherapycouch.com. While direct counseling through on-line communication is not intended to replace traditional therapy, nor is it suitable for at risk clients, recent research suggests that on-line therapy can be effective. After conducting a study on cognitive-based therapy delivered online by qualified therapists, one of the worlds leading medical journals, The Lancet reported positive results for those suffering from depression.
The fact that online therapists represent different parts of the globe adds an international element that will appeal to people from various cultures. I felt we needed to make it easier to reach out and to bring people together, explains Jutta Morris who resides and practices in Florida People from around the world may not share specific cultures but we do all share the emotional fabric and the need to be part of a supportive community. We all share the need to feel safe in expressing ourselves and asking for help.
Of particular interest are its services offered to veterans. Increasing numbers of war veterans are reporting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and those numbers are expected to increase as global conflicts continue. Yet, studies show that many vets suffer alone or find no support from mainstream medicine. Mytherapycouch.com hopes to connect to these vets providing a forum for them to discuss common issues and receive one-on-one counseling from professionals familiar with this misunderstood and often overlooked disorder.
While some people will visit this online counseling service website for an immediate issue others will become part of the support circles and forums that address longer-term concerns. The site provides a number of ways for visitors to interact with each other and with the staff through two models of interaction: the community forums and groups focused on specific issues of concern and the direct online counseling through the website with a specialist.
Based on input from professional IT consultants, the new site combines several successful features from popular online sites like Yahoo! Answers. Participants can respond to each others questions, with the most helpful responses being rewarded through a ranking system.
This not only encourages thoughtful responses to peoples questions but gives people a sense of ownership and personal reward for sharing their unique wisdom with others, says Gideon Kimbrell, Director of I.T. People can respond to questions, follow a group and participate in forums but what makes mytherapycouch.com unique is the ability to communicate directly with a clinical professional who responds privately through the secure website.
The therapists each have areas of expertise dedicated to individual issues so those seeking specific answers will be matched up to an appropriate expert. Through the direct counseling service, a person can communicate with a counselor who promptly responds.
The ability to have one-on-one contact in a secure and non-threatening format is something many have never had an opportunity for. Finances, travel considerations, even shyness prevents many people from meeting with counselors in brick and mortar settings.
The mission at mytherapycouch.com, according to Jutta Morris, is to create a therapeutic, virtual community of individuals with a focus on nurturing and compassionate guidance.
Every therapist contracted with the site is a fully licensed clinical or counseling psychologist with a minimum of 3 years of clinical experience in their home country. The site is a member of the International Society for Mental Health Online. Registration is free.
If youd like more information or to schedule and interview please contact:
My Therapy Couch Inc.
Jutta Morris President and Co-Founder
Gideon Kimbrell Director of I.T and Co-Founder
1 Main Street Suite 200
Tequesta, FL 33469
Jutta Morris (+1) 561-317-7389
Gideon Kimbrell (+1) 561-386-3720