Social Security Disability benefits in Austin are meant to help people facing long-term disability issues. If you are disabled and unable to earn a living for more than a year, you can apply for benefits.

Disability can strike at any time. For some people, disability happens due to an injury. Other people simply develop a disability or impairment over the years for no clear reason. Sadly, some people are simply more prone to injury and illness than others.

When to File For Social Security Disability Benefits in Austin? 

Construction Accident Lawyer San AntonioIf you’re suffering from a disability, you should not wait. You may be eligible to file a claim for Social Security Disability. Your condition could potentially impact all areas of your life. If you are disabled and struggling to find work, or start your own business you should pursue the benefits you need and deserve.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) can help. The SSA is a federal government agency that helps millions of people across the country receive the benefits they need. This agency provides monthly and regular payments for those in need.

Of course, not everyone qualifies. The administrative and legal process can be overwhelming, intimidating, uncomfortable and lengthy, oftentimes leading to denial of benefits. In fact, the majority of first-time applications that would otherwise qualify, get denied.

Applications get denied for a variety of reasons. These include filing mistakes and errors, failure to provide necessary information and documentation, and failure to meet eligibility criteria.

Some of the disability conditions for which you can apply for the benefits in Austin are:

What Programs Are Offered By The Social Security Administration (SSA)?

The SSA offers two programs for social security disability. The first program is called Social Security Disability Insurance. The second program is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both of these programs award benefits for disabled people, with certain key differences.

SSDI is strictly for those individuals who are in desperate need of disability benefits. SSI, meanwhile, is more typically administered to people of limited means. Unlike the SSI program, the SSDI program requires that people have a work history of so-called work credits. Many people in Austin, Texas, receive SSDI or SSI as per their requirements.

The number of people who apply for disability in Austin is nearly 18.9%. If we estimate approximately 43% who apply for disability get an approval from the initial level and 20% of people get benefits at the reconsideration level.

However, not everyone qualifies for SSDI and SSI payments. It is important that people realize what they need and if they qualify. The SSA will only provide benefits for total disability. A total disability is not a partial or short-term disability.

How to Prove A Total Disability?

A total disability must be a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment.”

This condition must:

  • Prevent you from substantial gainful activity (SGA), and
  • Have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months, or
  • Be expected to lead to death

If the condition does not meet this definition, it is not severe. Substantial gainful activity (SGA), meanwhile, refers to work ability. A person engaging in SGA is not considered disabled under the SSA total disability definition. 

When proving your total disability, you may need to provide substantial work documents. You will also need medical tests, records and medication lists. Your history of hospital and specialist visits will also be important.

In some cases, it may be difficult to prove the severity and duration of your condition. A good Austin Disability attorney can help you gather this information from your healthcare providers.

Make Sure You Have The Following:

  • Social Security number (SSN)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Contact information of medical experts
  • Medication specifics
  • Medical records and lab results
  • Employment information
  • W-2s and tax returns

When you first apply to the SSA, you will be evaluated on many details. First, your application is assessed in a local field office. There are 70 field offices in Texas. These field offices are the first step. They do not actually evaluate your disability. Instead, they look at other variables.

The SSA Application Process in Austin

You can apply in-person or by telephone. You can also apply by mail or online. Online applications require you to meet extra criteria. Again, your Social Security Office in Austin will look at several factors when initially evaluating your application. These factors include your age, work, and coverage information. If this all checks out, your application will move to the second step.

The Disability Determination Service (DDS) will evaluate your disability at this stage. This state agency will make the first disability determination. If there is not enough information to make a determination, the DDS will schedule a consultative examination (CE). The CE is essentially a form of additional medical testing to determine your condition(s).

Based on the results of the CE, the DDS will make its initial disability determination. After this, the application is sent back to the field office. The SSA field office then calculates the benefits amount. The benefits are then paid. If the DDS denied benefits, the applicant may appeal.

The SSA Five-Question Disability Test

Applications are denied for a number of reasons. Many applicants simply make filing errors. Other people are disabled, but not severely. Their conditions are not considered ‘total’ disabilities. If you are disabled, you need an attorney who can prove it to the SSA. The Texas DDS will evaluate your disability based on five questions.

  • Are you currently working?

If you are engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), you’re making too much. If you are working, your income must be limited. SGA is based strictly on a monthly earnings amount.

  • Does your disability equal a listing?

The SSA has a system of disability listings. This is called The Blue Book. If your condition matches a listed condition, you will qualify for benefits. If your condition does not match, you move to the next question.

Only a total disability is severe. It must have lasted, or be expected to last for at least 12 months. It can also be expected to lead to death. A severe disability limits basic activities. A person will likely struggle with walking, standing and lifting.

  • Can you do prior work?

The DDS will look at your work history. If you can do previous work, you will be found ‘not disabled.’ If you cannot do prior work, you move to the final question.

  • Can you do any other work?

The SSA will look at your age, education and work history. If you can do other types of work, you will not get benefits. If you cannot do other work, you will be eligible to apply for the benefits.

Obviously, the process is not simple. It can become very complicated and confusing. Many people are denied benefits at first. The SSA evaluation process is slow. Many claims get denied because things can and do go wrong.

If you want to get disability benefits, contact our experienced Austin disability Lawyer at Khattar Law, LLC for a free case evaluation.