If you are struggling to maintain employment to support yourself and your family because of a severe medical condition, you might need to seek financial assistance through a government program. There are several situations when you might want to talk to a disability attorney in Texas. A Texas disability attorney could help you prepare the initial application or appeal a denial of benefits.
Evaluating Whether You Are Eligible for Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs two programs that can provide monthly cash benefits to people who cannot work because of a significant impairment. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs both require the same level of medical disability. The person must be 100 percent disabled because of the medical condition.
To qualify for SSDI benefits, the applicant must have accumulated the required number of work credits for his age at the time he became disabled. Younger workers do not need as many work credits as older employees because they have not had as much time to earn the credits. You can earn up to four work credits for every year that you work a job that pays Social Security taxes out of your paycheck.
SSI does not have any work credit requirement, but it pays far less in benefits than the SSDI program. Also, SSI has strict income and asset limits. If you have more than $2,000 in countable financial resources like cash, bank accounts, and investments or $3,000 total for a couple, you will not qualify for SSI benefits. The SSDI program does not limit the number of assets a person can own.
The income limits for SSDI benefits are not as low as for SSI. The SSA uses your income to determine whether you are disabled. If you earn more than the limit, the SSA will conclude that you are not disabled, no matter how life-changing your illness or injury is. The earnings limit for 2021 is $1,310 a month for non-blind individuals and $2,190 a month for statutorily blind individuals.
The rules for getting SSDI, SSI, or both can be confusing. It can be helpful to talk with a lawyer to find out if you might be eligible for benefits.
Preparing the Initial Application for Disability Benefits in Texas
It could be worth your while to work with an attorney when completing your initial application for disability benefits in Texas. The vast majority of SSDI and SSI applications get denied on the first application, often because the applicant did not submit everything that the SSA needs to evaluate the person’s eligibility.
Appealing a Denial of Disability Benefits
Many people have to go through one or more appeals of their disability petitions before they get awarded the benefits they deserve. When appealing a denial of benefits, you need to understand the eligibility rules as well as the appeals deadlines and procedural requirements. The SSA allows you to handle your appeal on your own without a lawyer, but working with a Texas disability attorney can be a smart decision. Contact our office today.