Austin Social Security Income (SSI) Lawyers
SSI Lawyers Serving Austin, Waco and Surrounding Areas
The Social Security Administration provides benefits to people in Texas who suffer from long-term disabling medical conditions. There are two programs designed to provide benefits to the disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While both programs have similar standards for determining whether you are disabled, there are some significant differences between them.
If you are disabled, it is important to fully understand your legal rights and to understand the different types of Social Security benefits available to you. SSI is a program that could be available to those who do not qualify for standard Social Security Disability benefits. You should speak with our experienced Texas Supplemental Security Income attorneys to learn more about eligibility for SSI.
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our lawyers have extensive experience with Social Security claims. For a free evaluation of your Supplemental Security Income claim, contact us toll free at 800-880-5100 or use our online contact form. The Texas SSI lawyers at The Bob Richardson Law Firm represent Social Security applicants in Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Georgetown, Killeen, Temple and surrounding areas.
Texas Supplemental Security Income Claims
SSDI is a program designed for working people who become disabled. You must have a certain number of work credits to be eligible. SSI, on the other hand, is not a work-based program. It is not funded through payroll taxes and there is no minimum work requirement to qualify. This means that, in certain cases, people who have never worked at all can qualify for SSI benefits.
SSI does have its own criteria for qualification, however. It is an income and need based program intended to provide income for children, the elderly and the disabled who do not have enough money to support themselves. This means that your household income and your resources must be below a certain level in order for you to be eligible for SSI benefits. These income numbers are subject to change annually, but as of 2012 according to the Social Security Administration:
- An individual whose income comes from wages must not have a monthly income exceeding $1,481.
- A couple whose income comes only from wages must not have an income exceeding $2,181 per month.
- An individual must not have resources in excess of $2,000 (including bank accounts, etc.).
- A couple must not have resources in excess of $3,000 (including bank accounts, etc.).
Not all money you make or receive counts as income for purposes of determining SSI eligibility. There are also certain limitations regarding what resources count towards your $2,000 or $3,000 maximum. To learn more about what types of income and resources will be counted and what is excluded, you should speak with a Texas SSI benefits attorney.
Proving Disability for Texas SSI Benefits
Meeting the income and resource requirements for SSI is only the first step. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently disabled and that your disability meets the SSA’s criteria. This means that you must show that your:
- Medical condition has or will last 12 months.
- Medical condition prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (i.e. earning above a set amount per month).
- Earnings do not exceed maximum permitted levels.
- Disability is found on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments (aka “the Blue Book”) and that you exhibit the symptoms required for your particular disability as listed in the Blue Book. If you do not meet these criteria, you will need to show your disability is “medically equivalent”.
- Disability prevents you from working or doing normal activities of daily living.
Provided you can prove your disability is sufficiently severe and provided that you do not exceed the required income levels, you could be paid up to $698 per month in SSI benefits.
In certain cases, you could be eligible to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits provided you meet eligibility criteria for both programs. To learn more about whether this is an option, speak with an experienced Texas security disability lawyer at The Bob Richardson Law Firm.
Appealing Texas SSI Benefits Denials
More than half of the initial applications for SSI benefits in Texas are denied. Fortunately, there is an appeals process to help you get the benefits you deserve. This is an administrative appeals process with several steps of internal appeals with the SSA, including a request for review and a hearing. Only when the internal appeals process has been exhausted can you finally appeal to the federal court.
Because of the high number of denials and the challenges of the appeals process, it is extremely important to get knowledgeable legal assistance when applying for SSI benefits or dealing with an SSI denial.
Contact an Experienced Supplemental Security Income Lawyer
Can I have a lawyer represent me in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income? The SSI lawyers at The Bob Richardson Law Firm, founded in 1990 by then-Texas State Representative Bob Richardson, now retired, have helped thousands of applicants secure the maximum Social Security benefits they deserve. We represent Texas SSI claimants from their initial application for benefits through review by an administrative law judge and the appeals process.
Our attorneys who represent SSI claimants focus exclusively on Social Security benefits cases. They are members of the National Organization of Social Security Disability Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and the Fifth Circuit Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (FOSSCR).
We do not charge hourly fees up front. We get paid only if we obtain SSI benefits for you. If you want to submit a successful Supplemental Security Income claim the first time or overturn a rejected claim, turn to SSI attorneys who count their legal experience in decades.
For a free evaluation of your SSI claim, contact us toll free at 800-880-5100 or use our online contact form.