Austin Social Security Lawyer
For years, you’ve paid Social Security taxes out of every paycheck. If you become disabled and unable to work, you deserve Social Security Disability benefits. After all, you earned them. But obtaining disability from Social Security can be complicated, time-consuming and frustrating for many inexperienced applicants. Many applications are initially denied. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer can guide you and take the guesswork out of the application process.
The Bob Richardson Law Firm assists people from the initial application for Social Security Disability benefits through review by an administrative law judge and on through the appeals process.
For a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim, contact us toll free at 800-880-5100 or use our online contact form. The Social Security Disability lawyers at The Bob Richardson Law Firm have successfully represented Social Security Disability applicants in Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Georgetown, Killeen and Temple. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.
Disability Lawyer in Austin
If your child is disabled and has never worked, he or she may be able to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on your work record once he or she turns 18. By speaking with an attorney and learning about SSD benefits for disabled adult children, you could help your child to get significantly more in annual benefits.
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, we have helped many clients secure maximum disability benefits for themselves and for their children. For help with a benefits claim or to appeal a denial of benefits, call us or contact us online now.
We have offices in Austin and Waco* with attorneys who are ready to provide you with a free consultation. We can answer your questions, such as:
- What disability benefits are available for adult children?
- Is my child eligible for adult child SSD benefits?
- How can an attorney help my child get SSD benefits based on my work history?
‘Adult Children’ May Qualify for Additional SSD Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two benefits programs for disabled people. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a means-tested program. Applicants qualify for SSI benefits only if they have a low income and their personal resources are less than $2,000. The maximum individual SSI benefit is $721 per month as of 2014.
For disabled children under 18, SSI is the only disability benefit available. A minor child may qualify only if the family meets the means test.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the other type of benefit available for disabled people. These benefits are earned by paying payroll taxes. Claimants must have a work record to qualify. The benefits are often higher than SSI because the monthly payment is based on past earnings.
Children who are disabled when young are unlikely to have earned enough income to qualify for the higher SSDI benefits. However, a child may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits based on his or her mother or father’s work history if certain criteria are met. This includes adoptive parents. In some cases, an adult child may qualify based on a grandparent’s work history.
To qualify for adult child benefits, the applicant must:
- Have been disabled before he or she turned 22.
- Be unmarried.
- Have a condition that falls within the SSA’s narrow definition of “disabled”.
To be eligible for SSD benefits, an adult child must not engage in work that amounts to “substantial gainful activity.” The SSA defines “substantial” as income of more than $1,070 per month as of 2014.
The SSA’s “Blue Book” lists impairments that may make a person eligible for benefits. Part A of the Blue Book contains a listing of adult disabilities, and Part B contains a listing of childhood disabilities.
A child must have had a condition listed in Part B when he or she was under the age of 18 in order to be considered disabled. Once the child is over 18, he or she must have a condition listed in Part A. Each listed condition lists certain symptoms that must accompany it.
If your child’s disability is not listed, then the condition must be medically equivalent in severity to those on the list. Your child must have met the SSA’s definition of a disabled child when under 18, and the SSA’s definition of a disabled adult once he or she is over 18, in order to be eligible for adult child benefits.
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Disability claims evaluators use a step-by-step process to reach a decision about disability claims. They consider the following five factors:
- Are you working? — If you are working in 2011 and your earnings average more than $1,000 a month, you generally are not eligible for Disability Social Security.
- Is your disability severe? — Your disability must interfere with your basic work-related activities.
- Do you have a recognized medical disability? — Some conditions are severe enough that they automatically qualify an applicant for Social Security disability benefits. People with certain conditions, such as pancreatic cancer, acute leukemia and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), may be granted Social Security Disability as soon as the condition is confirmed. If your condition is not on the list of severe medical conditions, Social Security Disability specialists will decide if the condition is of equal severity as a medical condition that is on the list.
- Can you perform the work you did previously? — If your disability is severe, but not a listed medical condition, does it prevent you from doing the work you did previously? If your disability does not interfere with your former work, your claim will be denied.
- Can you do other work? — Social Security Disability specialists review your medical condition and age and determine if you can adjust to other work. If they determine you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will most likely be approved.
You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as your disability is diagnosed if you expect to be out of work a year or longer. If your SSDI benefits are approved, you will start receiving payments in the sixth month after the disability began. The amount of your benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings.
You will receive Social Security Disability payments as long as your medical condition has not improved and you cannot work. Specialists in Social Security disability will review your situation periodically to determine whether you still are disabled or if your medical condition has improved.
Yes. Supplement Security Income, sometimes called Social Security Income or SSI, is an additional monthly federal payment that you may receive if you are disabled or blind and have a low income or are aged 65 or older and have a low income and limited resources. Unlike Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income is not based on your work history and past earnings. The benefit is based on financial need. In some cases, your spouse and dependent children will receive benefits in addition to your own.
Can I have a lawyer represent me in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income?
Yes, Social Security Disability claimants with legal representation win their cases more often than those who try to represent themselves. An experienced SSI lawyer may help you present a strong application for Social Security Income payments by gathering medical records and other documents to support your claim. Your lawyer can request reconsideration of an SSI decision if you disagree with it and represent you in a hearing or Appeals Council review. An experienced Austin SSI lawyer can prepare you and your witnesses for the hearing. The Social Security Disability process is complex, so it’s important to select an experienced lawyer who has handled many SSI and SSDI claims.
Your lawyer’s fee is set by the Social Security Administration and is a percentage of the benefits. At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, with our offices in Austin and Waco*, our SSD benefits lawyers work on a contingent fee basis and collect fees only if you obtain benefits.
My doctor says I am disabled, but the Social Security Administration is denying my Social Security Disability benefits. Why?
If your doctor says that you are disabled but you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, it’s important to speak to a knowledgeable Disability Social Security benefits attorney about appealing the decision. A skilled attorney can request a reconsideration of the decision, gather medical evaluations that support your claim and stand up for you at a hearing. If your doctor says you are disabled, don’t take an initial denial of disability benefits by a government bureaucrat as the last word. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer at The Bob Richardson Law Firm can review your case and protect your rights.
An SSD Attorney Can Help You Get Benefits for Your Adult Child
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our experienced disability lawyers help adult children obtain full disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Founded in 1990 by then-Texas State Representative Bob Richardson, now retired, our law firm has helped thousands of applicants for Social Security Disability obtain the maximum benefits they deserve.
Find out how we can help you, too. Call us now or fill out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim and advice about your legal right to disability benefits.