social security disability benefits claim document
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It can be challenging to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, whether you live in Texas or any other state. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both programs and denies most initial claims. A Texas disability attorney can answer your questions, including whether, in your situation, it is hard to get disability in Texas.

How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits in Texas

You might think that you can collect disability benefits if you have a physical or mental impairment that makes you unable to support yourself through gainful employment, but the SSA has many additional requirements before it will start sending you a monthly benefits check from the SSDI program. Your disability must last (or be expected to continue) for at least 12 months or likely end your life. Usually, having an impairment for less than one year will not qualify you for SSDI benefits.

The SSA uses the Adult Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book, to determine whether your medical condition is severe enough to qualify for benefits. If the SSA decides that your disability meets their severity test, they will then explore these factors:

  • You must have worked long enough at a job that paid into the Social Security program by deductions from your paychecks. The SSDI program receives much of its funding from the money employers withhold from their workers’ income. If you did not pay into the program, you cannot get the benefits. The SSA calculates the number of “work credits” you earned for every three-month period of paying Social Security taxes.
  • You must be 100 percent disabled, in other words, entirely unable to perform any type of work because of your medical condition. Unlike the military, the SSA does not pay for partial disability.
  • Your income cannot exceed the SSDI earnings limit. The income limit for 2021 is $1,310 per month ($2,190 for statutorily blind). No matter how catastrophic your injury or illness is, if you can earn more than the earnings limit, the SSAA will say that you do not need their help, and they will deny your application.

Even if you meet all of the criteria for SSDI benefits, you might have to go through one or more appeals to get the benefits you deserve.

How to Get SSI in Texas

You must meet these eligibility requirements to qualify for disability benefits from SSI:

  • Be disabled. The SSA uses the same evaluation criteria for SSI disability determination that it does for SSDI applications. Your physical or mental impairment must meet the standards of the Blue Book and prevent you from working to support yourself.
  • Have very limited income and few financial resources. Your assets cannot exceed $2,000 for an individual ($3,000 total for a couple). Your income will reduce the amount of your monthly benefit. The SSA does not “count” all types of income or assets when evaluating an applicant’s eligibility.

The SSI program typically pays far less in monthly cash benefits than the SSDI program does. The SSI program is a safety net for disabled people who do not qualify for SSDI benefits. Usually, not having enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI causes people to apply for SSI.

A Texas disability attorney can help you navigate the application process and handle your appeal if the SSA denies your application. Contact our office today.