Ellicott City, Maryland – James Grubb had been driving rigs and operated equipment since 1974 without a problem. But ill health was slowly creeping up on him.
In the last three decades, he developed shortness of breath and fatigue. By May 2006, at age 56, he was out of work and facing what he expected to be months or years of frustration getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
To his surprise, Mr. Grubb today draws his full benefits, thanks to an almost lightning-fast approval process helped in large part by Allsup, the nation’s leading SSDI disability representation company. Headquartered near St. Louis, Allsup has successfully represented more than 100,000 disabled people for their SSDI benefits.
Mr. Grubb learned firsthand how well Allsup works. For the last several years, he had suffered with what turned out to be a gradual progression of emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He finally lost his job last year and signed up for unemployment. That was when his doctor said he should look into getting disability benefits.
“I knew it was going to be a hassle,” Mr. Grubb said. “So, I just started to search the Web for information about disability coverage.”
He was right to be anxious. People with disabilities are experiencing delays of months — often years — in obtaining their rightful benefits. Nationwide, based on the Social Security Administration’s own numbers at the end of the 2007 fiscal year, there was a backlog of more than 700,000 disability cases pending before the agency at the hearing level alone. When combined with the waiting list of more than 550,000 initial applications and more than 100,000 reconsiderations, the extent of the crisis is apparent.
Luckily, Mr. Grubb soon found the site for Allsup Inc. CEO and founder Jim Allsup started his company in 1984, after working for the Social Security Administration, to help people just like James Grubb collect SSDI benefits. A nationwide company with headquarters in Belleville, Ill., Allsup’s success rate is a staggering 97 percent.
The company is so highly regarded that, in October 2006, the Better Business Bureau presented Allsup its Torch Award for excellence in customer service. Since 1984, the disability advocacy company has helped nearly 100,000 people obtain about $1.4 billion in SSDI and Medicare benefits.
Shortly after New Years 2007, Mr. Grubb contacted Allsup, and the company went into action. Fortunately, the client had started the disability process. When his doctor advised him to seek SSDI, Mr. Grubb obtained and completed the Social Security forms. So when his Allsup representative asked for information, he already had the forms ready to send.
It turned out to be the start of an amazingly fast approval, even by Allsup standards. The company takes pride in saying it typically cuts the length of processing in half. A claim through Allsup typically takes nine months from filing through approval. Mr. Grubb’s claim even beat that standard.
Communication between the client, the company and even Social Security went exceptionally well, according to Mr. Grubb’s Allsup representative, Teresa Huiras.
“I try to take a holistic approach to tap into all of a client’s problems to make sure they’re complete in the original application,” Ms. Huiras said. “Everything went smoothly. It helps when a client is willing to cooperate with you. Then the process runs like a well-oiled machine.”
In the application, Ms. Huiras focused on Mr. Grubb being too tired to fulfill his duties. “He said he had shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue,” she said. “Our person who helped compile the application questionnaire worked really well, too. Details from the client’s medical records also helped.”
As Allsup experts worked on his claim, Mr. Grubb was virtually a bemused spectator. Allsup’s motto is, “You stay at home. We do the work,” and the applicant agreed that it is appropriate. “I didn’t have to do anything, really,” Mr. Grubb said. “I just filled out the forms and signed the releases. They did everything else.”
Ms. Huiras credited everyone for the speedy outcome. “The client returned calls and got his information submitted quickly,” she said. “Even Social Security returned our calls fairly quickly. So, the communication went really well.”
As a result, only four months after Allsup first heard from Mr. Grubb, Social Security approved his SSDI application. His date of entitlement was Nov. 1, 2006, which marked the end of the five-month waiting period from when Mr. Grubb lost his job. His SSDI payments are retroactive from the effective date.
Looking back on his speedy approval, Mr. Grubb said he was pleasantly surprised. “That came quicker than I figured it would,” he said. Was he satisfied with Allsup’s service? “Oh yeah,” he replied. “It wasn’t a problem at all.”
With his disability benefits and peace of mind in place, Mr. Grubb, who is involved with the Howard County Youth Program, said he “obviously won’t do much physical activity.” Simply watching and enjoying youth sports promises to be a welcome reward after a lifetime of hard work.