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With Social Security benefits disbursements exceeding payroll tax contributions by $140 billion in 2011, the debate about future sustainability of the Social Security Administration (SSA) rages on. While the stakes are high for those counting on retirement income (currently 89 percent of retired Americans receive benefits), over 10 million Americans in households of disabled workers under retirement age also count on Social Security benefits to survive.

Ron Buerges, Executive Vice President and COO of Allsup, a leading national disability representation company, knows just how important disability benefits are to individuals who want to work, but who are no longer able to as a result of a long-term illness or injury. "Our core focus is obtaining benefits for people who have a new disabling condition," he said.

Allsup's SSDI and Disability Life Planning services are designed to provide assistance to those in transition from a salaried income to surviving on drastically reduced incomes and depleted assets. The SSDI application process is lengthy and complicated, often leaving families on the brink of financial ruin before any actual benefit dollars can arrive. Allsup helps them through this complex process, offering alternatives to keep them in their homes and receiving medical care while awaiting their disability award, which they refer to as True Help®.

"If you are newly disabled and unemployed, and you don't have long-term disability insurance, your life has been turned upside down," Buerges said. "People's lives are affected, so there's a lot we have to get right."

Allsup works as a liaison between the claimant and the SSA during the Social Security disability adjudication and review process, continuously advocating for improved processes that benefit both parties.

While recognizing the current fiscal uncertainty surrounding the SSA, Buerges is confident the Social Security Disability Trust fund won't go broke. "Reform is an inevitable situation," he said. "The government has made modifications over the years to make that happen, and we are confident they will do that again."

Founder and CEO Jim Allsup is actively monitoring SSA’S efforts to improve processes, reduce the backlog of claims  and modernize through use of technology. Many are advocating for out-and-out reform. "Right now, it's an all-or-nothing benefit," Buerges said. "That could change. Regardless, we will be here to develop new True Help products and services that will help people with disabilities maximize limited income and assets. If how Social Security disability income is obtained changes, our job will become more of a challenge, but we will be here to help."

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