Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Texas
Texas is the second largest state with the second largest population in the United States. Everything is big in Texas right from their big oil fields, big stadiums, big steaks, and the size of their hearts in terms of both kindness and, unfortunately, heart disease. Nearly 68% of its population is either obese or overweight which has a high correlation with heart disease such as Coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arteriosclerosis, and aneurysms. All these diseases can be severe enough to prevent an individual from making a living and so it is not surprising that Texas ranks among the top five for the number of disabled people receiving benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
In Texas about 40% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits. This is higher than the national average which hovers around 30%. The top two diagnostics on the SSDI beneficiary list in Texas are disabilities that stem from a mental disorder (33%) and those of musculoskeletal system diseases (27%).
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Texas
According to a report by Cornell University, close to 12% of the resident population in the state of Texas suffer from some type of disability. If you are among this group you may be entitled to receive SSDI benefits. Benefits are available to anyone who has earned enough work credits under the Social Security system and meet the conditions of medical disability which is guided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in their Blue Book. Not all conditions are laid out in the Blue Book and most people do not meet the SSA’s stringent qualifications. Those who do not meet the conditions in the Blue Book may be awarded disability benefits through the vocational medical allowance. The SSA will assess your residual functional capacity (which measures how much you can do despite your limitations), your work experience, and your case history. You can see how it is extremely important to understand how the Social Security disability claims process works in order to increase your chances of getting benefits.
Starting the SSDI application process in the state of Texas is the same as in any other state. The Dallas Region field offices not only provide service to Texas, but also to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the Navajo Nation in parts of Arizona and Utah. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. Once your application is received it is assigned to a disability examiner working in a state-level agency known as the Disability Determination Services. The disability examiner will determine whether your case qualifies for SSDI benefits based on evidence you provide and after conducting a disability application interview, either in person or on the phone. In Texas, the average time it takes for a disability examiner to make a decision is between 90 to 120 days.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
With only about 33% of SSDI claims being awarded benefits in Texas at the initial application, the 67% who are denied benefits will need to pursue their claim through the appeals process which consists of four stages:
- Reconsideration: In this stage of the appeals process, your case will be examined by another disability examiner. This examiner will check for errors the initial disability examiner may have made. The rate of denial at this level is even higher than at the initial application stage. A denial here will lead you to the next stage in the appeals process.
- The Court Hearing: In Texas, it may take 8 months to over a year to get a hearing date, depending on the number of backlogs there are in the system. A decision on your case is by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The approval rate of SSDI claims in Texas at the hearing level is about 43%.
- The Appeals Council: The Appeals Council exists to determine whether the decision made by the ALJ was fairly determined.
- Federal Review: The last and final stage of appeal is the federal court. The chances of a favorable verdict before a federal court judge are fair but the process is slow and you will need to consider whether it is worth the time and money, or whether it may be better for you to file a new claim for SSDI benefits.
At each stage of the appeal you must act within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. You have a far better chance of winning a disability case at the hearing level than at any other stage in the appeals process. At this stage, it is important to have legal representation for obvious reasons. An experienced advocate will know the kind of evidence that needs to be gathered to help you win your case. They may also be familiar with the ALJs and know what to expect.
You can avoid delays in receiving your SSDI benefits, if you’re eligible, and the stress of going through the appeals process by being thoroughly prepared with documentation and evidence that shows you meet the SSA definition of disability. Contact us to talk to a representative who is specialized in SSDI claims and could be your best resource to fill out the application. We want to help you get the benefits you deserve. Fill out the form to your right and get professional advocates to help you win!
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Texas
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Texas State administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS): There are several programs under DARS including:
- Comprehensive rehabilitation services: Those with disabilities stemming from a brain or spinal cord injury can find intensive therapies here to increase their independence.
- Independent living services and centers: The goal of these services is to improve the quality of life of disabled people by helping them live independently, improve ability to perform daily chores, as well as provide counselling, guidance and assisted devices.
- Vocational rehabilitation programs: These programs seek to help those with disabilities increase productivity and independence by helping them gain the skills necessary to start a new career, preparing them to face a job interview, providing accommodation to stay employed.
- The Texas Weatherization Assistance Program helps adults with disabilities and low-income families with the weatherization of their homes.
- SNAP Benefits: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.