Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

How does the SSI or Social Security Disability process work in Texas?

How does the SSI, Social Security Disability process work? You could sufficiently answer this question by simply stating "not very well". And it would be difficult to argue against this fact. Currently, with the backlogs in the system, it can take an SSD or SSI claimant well over two years to get through the application phase and appeal phases. Could anyone successfully argue that this is a good system? Hardly. It is instead a bureaucratic government nightmare that puts disabled individuals through a torturous ringer that is, for many, both emotionally draining and financially devastating.

Having said that, here is a simple explanation of the SSI and Social Security Disability process. It starts, obviously, with an individual developing a condition or illness. For social security administration purposes, the illness must be severe and not only "severe", but severe enough that it lasts at least twelve months AND prevents an individual from being able to work at a level at which they can earn a substantial and gainful income.

"Work" for Social Security purposes includes not the work the individual has done in the past, but also any type of other work the person might ordinarily be suited for.

How long must you be out of work before filing?

Many individuals who hear this definition of disability will ask the question, "Do I have to be disabled and unable to work for twelve months before I can file for disability?" And the answer to that question is no. As soon as your condition prevents you from being able to work, you should immediately file for Social Security Disability or SSI disability.

The twelve month rule will still apply--however, a disability examiner or administrative law judge can review an applicant's medical records and make a projection as to whether or not an applicant's disabling condition will last the full twelve months (in some cases where a claimant is disabled for less than twelve months, the claimant may be ineligible for ongoing disability benefits, but still be eligible for a closed period, which is essentially x number of months of benefits).

An individual who does this meet this definition of disability can have an application for Social Security Disability or an application for SSI disability benefits taken at the social security office. It's best to contact the nearest social security office, of course, since this office will have jurisdiction over the processing of the claim.

Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
Technical denials

What happens to individuals who file for disability who do not meet the SSA definition of disability? They receive a technical denial. Here's an example of a technical denial. A claimant who has been seriously ill for several months, but has still managed to keep working goes to their social security office to file for SSD or SSI benefits. The application for the claim is taken, not given a medical evaluation, i.e. no medical records are gathered.

In fact, the claim is never even sent to the agency that actually renders decisions on claims (disability determination services or the bureau of disability determination, depending on which state you live in). Instead, the claimant simply receives (very quickly receives) a technical denial letter from the social security office.

The processing of a disability claim

Individuals who fully meet the Social Security Administration's disability definition will not only have an application for SSI or SSD taken, but this application will be forwarded to the state agency that handles disability determinations. There it will stay while a disability applicant's medical records are gathered and evaluated. During the processing of an SSD or SSI claim, a couple of things may (or may not) happen:

1. A disability claimant may receive a call from the examiner assigned to their case and in this call the examiner may inquire about the claimant's ability to engage in normal daily activities. Typical questions might include "Are you able to use a vacuum cleaner?", "Are you able to dress by yourself?", "Are you able to prepare and cook meals?"

On the face of it, such questions might seem fairly innocuous. However, a claimant who receives an ADL, or "activities of daily living", call should be careful regarding their answers. For example, a claimant with a severe back condition who states that they are able to use a vacuum cleaner should also make it very clear to the examiner what effect this type of activity has on them later. Many claimants with back problems, for instance, are able to use a vacuum cleaner occasionally, but also have severe lower back pain afterwards, sometimes for days.

2. A disability claimant may receive a letter notifying them that a medical examination has been scheduled for them. This is, in fact, fairly common and such examinations are known as CE's, or consultative exams.

Here are a few things that claimants should know about these exams. First of all, though they are often referred to as social security examinations, they are not conducted by doctors employed by the social security administration. Instead, they are conducted by independent physicians who have been paid to perform such exams. Additionally, these disability exams are not conducted for the purpose of delivering medical treatment, but rather to get a snapshot of a claimant's current condition.

Most claimants will notice that a visit to a "social security doctor" will be very short (sometimes lasting only 10 minutes) and, typically, the examining doctor will ask very few questions of the claimant. Unfortunately, as well, many claimants will notice that these doctors tend to be rude and short with individuals who are applying for benefits.

3. Once a disability examiner has everything they need to close a case, i.e. make a decision, a social security applicant should very shortly receive a notice in the mail. If the notice indicates an approval, then the claimant will simply need to wait while their case is being put into benefit receipt status. If the letter is a notice of denial, the claimant will need to file an appeal and do this within 60 days of the date of the denial.

For most individuals, of course, the disability process will entail a series of denials on a claim and will, inevitably, result in the need for a claimant to have their case heard by an administrative law judge.

It is at this stage of the disability claim process that an individual is afforded the opportunity to become "more than a file". It is also at this stage that an SSI or SSD claimant can have an attorney present who will advocate on their behalf.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on

Who can help me file for disability?

General information

Filing for disability in Texas
What are the qualifications for disability in Texas?
When do you file for Texas disability benefits? - when you become disabled
SSI vs Social Security Disability in Texas
Winning a Social Security Disability or SSI award in Texas
Disability for depression in Texas
Disability approval process - Getting disability in Texas
Resource links for Filing a Texas disability application
Can I apply for temporary and later permanent Disability in Texas?
How much can I get from Social Security Disability in Texas?
Eligibility and qualifying for disability in Texas
Social Security Disability Status in Texas

Disability appeals in Texas

What if you get denied disability in Texas?
Can you avoid a Social Security Disability Denial in Texas?
The Social Security Disability and SSI appeals process in Texas
Starting an appeal on a disability claim in Texas
What are the chances of winning a disability appeal in Texas?
How many disability appeals do you get in Texas?
Filing a Texas Disability Appeal

Disability Hearings in Texas

How long does it take to get a disability hearing decision in Texas?
Going to and getting ready for a disability hearing in Texas
Don't waste your Texas disability hearing - be prepared
Qualifying for disability at a hearing in Texas

Texas Disability Attorney questions

Get a qualified disability attorney, lawyer, advocate in Texas
Should you get help from a disability attorney in Texas if you have not filed yet?
What does a disability lawyer in Texas do to help you win benefits?
How Much Are The Fees For A Disability Lawyer In Texas?
How do Disability Lawyers in Texas get paid their fees?
Qualifying For Disability in Texas, will I qualify?

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.