Suffering an injury or illness that precludes you from being able to work can lead to a stressful situation, especially for someone who is already struggling to make ends meet. The prospect of seeking financial assistance can be very frightening, but it is important for people to know what benefits they may be entitled to.
An experienced Houston disability lawyer can help you get started on the long road ahead by clearly explaining which government programs can provide financial support during an injury or illness.
If you need help making ends meet to cover medical expenses and the costs of daily living, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits. However, most people who apply initially receive a denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the federal government agency that oversees these assistance programs. An attorney can help you avoid unnecessary denials and expedite what can be a lengthy process.
In general, the SSA offers two types of benefit programs for individuals who are disabled and cannot earn a living: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI and SSI are the nation’s primary safety net to help those who cannot work as a result of a disability.
However, the Social Security programs exclusively provide assistance for total disability. They do not offer benefits for an individual’s short-term condition or partial disability.
In addition, if you live in Houston, you may qualify for supplemental disability payments from the state of Texas. A Houston disability lawyer can provide additional information on how to apply.
For an individual to qualify for SSDI benefits, there are two main criteria they will first have to meet:
Sufficient work credits. An applicant would have needed to work a sufficient number of years in jobs for which they paid into Social Security taxes and earned Social Security work credits, which are based on a worker’s total yearly wages or self-employment income.
The maximum number of credits an individual can earn every year is four, and the amount of income required to earn a work credit changes every year. How many work credits a person will need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on how old they are when they become disabled and can no longer work.
Qualifying disability. In general, the SSA will consider a person to be disabled if their medical condition prevents them from doing the work they did before, the medical condition makes it impossible for them to adjust to doing different work, and the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or is expected to be fatal. To evaluate whether a person is disabled, the SSA reviews the application against five questions:
The SSI benefits program is designed to assist people with limited income and resources who are blind, disabled, or age 65 or older. Unlike SSDI, receiving assistance through SSI does not require any type of prior work.
In 2021, the SSA defines “limited resources” as the value of all of a person’s possessions being less than $2,000 for an individual or a child and less than $3,000 for a couple. Some of the resources the SSA evaluates include cash, bank accounts, real property, vehicles, and life insurance policies.
In addition, to qualify for SSI, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:
While it may seem difficult to apply for Social Security disability benefits, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer in Houston can simplify the process for you. Seeking the benefits to which you may be entitled can help you take care of your family and avoid financial ruin during one of the most challenging times of your life.
Applying for disability benefits either through SSI or SSDI can be a difficult process: It can take months, if not years, to have your claims processed and approved. If you are currently going through the disability benefits process, you probably understand all too well what a devastating blow it can be when a claim for disability benefits is denied.
To improve your chances of having your disability benefits approved, contact a disability attorney today for assistance. Our Houston Social Security disability attorneys have handled many claims just like yours and are prepared to stand by your side through every step of the process.