SSDI applications decline; A heavy emphasis on Veterans
Belleville, Ill.—Oct. 30, 2013—The third-quarter unemployment rate for people with disabilities increased, reaching its highest level for 2013. Applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, however, dropped to the lowest level for the year, according to a quarterly study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance representation, veterans disability appeal and Medicare plan selection services.
People with disabilities averaged an unemployment rate 97 percent higher—at 14.0 percent—compared with 7.1 percent for workers without disabilities for the third quarter of 2013, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The full report is available here.
Income at risk
The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk report also includes a Special Focus on Veterans. It shows a 6.4 percent unemployment rate for veterans during the third quarter of 2013, unchanged for the second quarter 2013 and down from 6.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Approximately 3 million veterans report service-connected disabilities, or about 14 percent of all veterans, according to a BLS study released earlier this year.
“As we look to honor men and women who have served in the armed forces this Veterans Day, special recognition should be given to those who now live with disabilities as a result of their service,” said Brett Buchanan, an Army veteran and VA-accredited claims agent at the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal ServiceSM.
“Veterans with service-connected disabilities that make it impossible to work must understand that they may be eligible for SSDI benefits, in addition to veterans disability benefits,” Buchanan added.
Unemployment, SSDI and Veterans
In the general working population, the 14 percent unemployment rate for people with disabilities during the third quarter of 2013 is still exceedingly high, according to Tricia Blazier, personal financial planning manager at Allsup.
“People with disabilities are looking for employment but too few are being hired,” Blazier said. “They may spend months or years trying to secure a position, only to have their disability continue to worsen to a point where it’s impossible to work or continue their job search.”
In comparison, veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in August 2012 (the latest service-connected disability data available). However, that jumped to 11.2 percent for veterans with a VA disability rating of 60 percent or higher, according to the BLS.
In the veterans disability system, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rates a service-connected disability on a scale of seriousness, from 0 to 100 percent, with 100 percent being most severe. The rating determines the benefit amount. For example, in 2013, a veteran with no dependents and a 30 percent disability rating would receive a monthly benefit of $395, while a veteran with no dependents and a 60 percent disability rating would receive a monthly benefit of $1,026.
“For veterans, service-connected disabilities can range from minor to severe,” Buchanan said. “Those with less serious disabilities are able to work. But a significant number of veterans have severe, long-term disabilities that prevent them from working, and they miss the window to seek SSDI benefits as well.”
About 16 percent of those receiving veterans disability compensation also received SSDI benefits, according to a study by the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission. In comparison, about 3 in 10 veterans with service-connected disabilities had a rating of 60 percent or higher.
“Veterans with significant service-connected disabilities may be unable to work, but they may not realize they could apply for SSDI benefits. Others may delay applying for SSDI benefits, which can put additional financial stress on their families,” Buchanan said.
Once a person with a disability applies, the wait time for SSDI benefits across all levels of that claims process averages about 800 days. Receiving VA disability benefits can take even longer: applicants appealing a VA disability decision may wait up to five years to complete that process.
“Both are long and complicated processes, so it’s essential veterans get the help they need,” Buchanan said. “Our specialists regularly work with veterans who have dual claims to ensure they secure the benefits they’ve earned.”
Read more about veterans disability appeals at Veterans.Allsup.com.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. Visit here.