How To Apply For Disability In Texas

This guide explains how to navigate disability benefits in Texas, from understanding eligibility for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) to the 5-step evaluation process by DDS. Tips include gathering medical evidence, tracking your application, and knowing the average benefits. Trajector can provide expert assistance for a successful claim or appeal.

Many Texans believe securing disability benefits is straightforward once a medical condition (mental or physical) impedes their ability to work. However, the process involves more than just applying. This comprehensive guide walks you through navigating disability benefits in Texas, from understanding eligibility to overcoming potential roadblocks.

Understanding Social Security Programs:

First, it’s essential to understand the types of benefits programs the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides to eligible citizens in Texas and other states. There are two primary programs for qualified individuals:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program provides financial assistance to individuals with a work history who have a disability that prevents them from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This need-based program caters to individuals with limited work history or assets who meet the SSA’s definition of Disability.

Qualifying for Disability in Texas:

The term “disability” can have multiple meanings in Texas Disability rights. For example, a specific impairment may qualify for disability benefits through the worker’s compensation system. Still, according to the SSA, it may not meet the standard definition of Disability.

When it comes to what conditions automatically apply to Disability, the SSA uses a specific definition of Disability, distinct from what might qualify under worker’s compensation. To be considered disabled by the SSA, your condition must:

  • Be medically documented.
  • Last or be expected to last at least 12 months.
  • Significantly limits your ability to perform past work or engage in SGA (earning above a certain monthly threshold).

After applying for social security benefits, the Texas Disability Determination Service (DDS) reviews the information and determines whether the applicant suffers from an impairment.

To determine eligibility, DDS will undergo its 5-step evaluation process.

The process is as follows:

1. Assess if an applicant can perform a substantially gainful activity

The SSA will consider whether they engage in substantially gainful activity and earn above a certain monthly amount. In 2024, the amount for statutorily blind people will be $2590 and $1,550 for non-blind people.

2. Confirm if the condition is “severe”

Does impairment interfere with daily activities, including work? If yes, the applicant’s evaluation automatically moves to the next level. But if not, they’re not considered disabled.

3. Check if their impairment is listed in the Bluebook

The Blue Book is an important book to consult when filing for Disability.

The SSA’s blue book contains a list of impairments that, if the applicant suffers from any of these, they’ll be considered disabled.

4. Confirm whether they can still do their former work.

DDS usually conducts a “residual functional capacity” assessment. First, they’ll confirm whether an impairment stops the applicant from working. If so, DDS will proceed to the next stage. If not, the applicant will not be considered disabled.

If not, DDS will consider the applicant disabled and eligible for benefits. But if applicants can adapt to other jobs, they’ll be regarded as ineligible for benefits.

5. When you have accumulated 40 work credits from SSA, you may be eligible for SSDI.

You must have earned half these credits within the last ten years before your Disability. However, the required work credit to qualify is less than 40.

Expediting the Approval Process:

The wait time for a disability claim decision can range from 3 to 5 months, with the time it takes to gather documentation also impacting the timeframe. Here are some tips to streamline the process:

  • Gather comprehensive medical evidence: Ensure all required documents, including doctor’s reports and treatment history, are included with your application.
  • Provide complete physician information: List all treating doctors, including contact details, to facilitate communication between the SSA and your medical providers.
  • Request doctor’s letters: A detailed letter from your doctor outlining your condition and its impact on your ability to work can significantly strengthen your claim.
  • Proactively track your application: Regularly check the status of your application and respond promptly to any requests for additional information from the SSA.

How much does Disability pay in Texas?

There’s no distinct difference between what an individual can receive in Texas and most places in the U.S. Someone who filed for SSI in Texas and approved their claim can receive the general SSI benefit. This amount can change each year and will almost certainly change if you move states.

The maximum SSI benefit is $943 per month for individuals and $1,415 per month for couples, and the average amount currently received in Texas is $1200.

Keep in mind that it’s common for some people to receive less than this average per month.

How Trajector Can Help:

The application and appeals process for disability benefits can be complex. At Trajector, we have over a decade of experience assisting Texans navigate the intricacies of securing the benefits they deserve.

We can help ensure your application is well-organized and supported by the necessary documentation, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome. Even if your initial claim is denied, we can guide you through the appeals process to fight for the financial assistance you’re entitled to.

Contact Trajector today for a free consultation, and let’s work together to secure your disability benefits.

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