How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits in Austin?
Disability Lawyer in Austin
If you can’t work due to a disability, disability benefits may be available from Social Security to help you pay your monthly expenses, such as rent, utility bills, food and clothing.
Applying for disability benefits can be a tricky and complicated process. The Bob Richardson Law Firm with offices in Austin and Waco*, helps people through this process. Our lawyers give applicants guidance and help them gather and present the documentation they need to get approved for benefits.
Contact us today. We can assess your situation and give you information on what types of disability benefits you may qualify for – at no cost to you.
What Are Disability Benefits from Social Security?
Disability benefits are monthly cash payments paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to people who can’t work and earn money to meet their basic needs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may pay benefits to you and certain family members if you are unable to work due to a disability. To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes during your lifetime, making you “insured.” Income and household resources are not factors in eligibility for SSDI.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on financial need. It is paid to people who have a very low income who are unable to work because of a disability. Unlike SSDI, SSI does not require prior work experience.
It is possible for some people to qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits.
How Does the Social Security Administration Decide to Pay SSDI Benefits?
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you need to have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of “disability.” Generally, benefits are paid to people who can’t work for a year or more due to a disability.
The SSA will pay disability benefits until you can work again. If you reach retirement age, the benefits convert to regular old-age Social Security payments.
Who is Considered ‘Disabled’ for SSD Purposes?
The SSA asks a series of five questions to decide if you have a disability that qualifies you for benefits.
- Are you working? Your average monthly earnings must be less than $1,070 (as of 2014) if you are working to be considered disabled.
- Is your condition severe? The SSA says your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for you to be considered disabled.
- Is your condition on the SSA’s list of disabled conditions? The SSA has a list of conditions that usually mean you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, then the SSA goes on to the fourth question.
- Can you do the work you did before? If you have a severe disability but it is not listed, the SSA will determine if you cannot do the same work you did previously. If it determines that you can no longer perform that work, move on to question 5.
- Can you do another type of work? The SSA will consider whether you can adjust to another type of work.
The SSA allows for some special circumstances that may speed up the approval process from several months to several days.
Compassionate allowances allow for quicker approval of benefits when objective medical information can be obtained quickly. Examples of conditions that may qualify for a compassionate allowance include pancreatic cancer, acute leukemia and Lou Gehrig’s disease, among many others.
Another fast-track approval process, Quick Disability Determinations, uses a computer-based predictive model to screen applications to find cases where a disability determination is likely and medical information is readily available.
How Do I Apply for Disability Benefits?
You can apply for SSDI benefits online or at your nearest Social Security office.
You will need a number of documents when you apply for benefits, including your Social Security number, birth or baptismal certificate and medical information, including dates of medical visits, names and dosages of medicines and medical lab and test results. You will also need to submit a summary of the kind of work you did, where you worked and tax information.
When applying, you must fill out a form about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work, as well as a form that gives your doctors permission to discuss your medical condition with the SSA.
SSI applicants have to submit additional information about their income and resources, such as bank statements.
Contact Our Texas Social Security Disability Attorneys Today
Can I have a lawyer represent me in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income? The application process can be overwhelming and emotional. Our attorneys are experienced in the process and can give you the support you need and help you present the best possible application to the SSA to increase your chances of approval.
Contact us now to get the process started. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.