Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?