Permanent Disability Benefits in Texas

If you file for disability benefits in Texas and win your claim at the initial level (the level of an application), the reconsideration appeal level, or the disability hearing level, your disability award will be made on the assumption that your condition, whether it is mental, physical, or a combination of conditions that are either physical or mental, is the following:
  • 1. Severe.
  • 2. Longstanding.
  • 3. Functionally limiting.
The definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration requires that your condition must be severe in this way: first of all, it must impose enough functional limitations (for example, reduced ability to walk, sit, or stand, reach, lift, or carry more than a certain amount of weight, or a reduced ability to comprehend, concentrate, or remember--these are just a few examples of functional limitations) that you no longer have the ability to go back to one of your past jobs performed within the last 15 years.

Secondly, however, it must impose enough limitations that you also lack the ability to perform what SSA considers other work.

And, finally, the condition must last for at least one full year. That does not mean that you must have your condition and not have worked for a year before you apply. It simply means that the condition must be considered, based on a review of the medical records, severe enough that it will be disabling for at least a year.

Therefore, if your condition just became only recently disabling to the point where you could not work and earn a substantial and gainful income, a disability examiner can still make a projection as to whether your condition will last a full year (which satisfies the SSA definition of disability).

Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
Some cases, in fact, are denied by a disability examiner (examiners make decisions on disability applications and reconsideration appeals while administrative law judges decide hearing level cases) on the basis of duration, meaning the decision is made that the claimant's condition will improve to less than a severe state within 12 months from the time of its onset. And other cases are ruled, at the start, to be NSI, meaning a non-severe impairment. An example of an NSI might be a sprained wrist.

Individuals who are awarded benefits, however, are always considered to have at least one severe medical impairment. And built into that disability award is the assumption that the condition will last a long time, possibly even be permanent.

However, that said, SSA does not assume that all individuals approved for disability will always remain disabled. And this is why all cases are periodically reviewed every few years.

Disability benefits are never permanently awarded. But, because the disability decision process is fairly strict, the fact still remains that most individuals who are put on disability in Texas will never have their benefits ceased. This is because to cease a person's benefits, Social Security must prove medical improvement has occurred, and this is fairly difficult to do.

To sum up, SSA does not offer temporary disability benefits. Nor does it offer partial or permanent benefits. However, most people who are awarded can count on their benefits remaining even though their case may be reviewed every few years. This is because individuals generally get disability due to chronic conditions that are not likely to improve.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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