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

If I apply for disability in Texas, what is the process of deciding and making a decision on my SSDI or SSI case?

The disability system is fairly difficult to understand for anyone who has not worked in it. And while it would be difficult to explain every single thing about how a disability examiner in Texas makes a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI case, we can still explain the basic system fairly easily.

It starts with this: Step 1: Is a person working and making at least the SGA amount when they apply for disability? If yes, the case is denied. It doesn't even make it to a disability examiner's desk so that medical records can be obtained and evaluated. This type of denial is known as a technical denial.

Step 2: Is the condition severe? This means "does it interfere with basic activities of daily living"? If the answer is no, and the condition is not considered severe (think, for example, of a minor cut or sprain), then the case is denied. If the condition is considered severe, the case moves on to step 3.

Step 3: Does the person have a condition that is listed in the SSA impairments list and does their medical evidence conform to the listing-level approval criteria. If not, the case cannot be approved on the basis of a listing but moves on to the next step of evaluation.

Note: not all conditions are listed in the impairments list. And when they are included, the criteria for approval is usually detailed and difficult to to satisfy.

Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
Step 4: Can the person do their past work? If the answer is yes, the case is denied. If they cannot do their past work, the case moves on to the final step. Note: past work can potentially include any jobs done in the last 15 years prior to becoming disabled.

Step 5: Can the person do some type of other work? Other work can include jobs that the claimant has not ever done as long as those jobs are not prohibited by the claimant's age or current level of physical and/or mental limitations and as long as the claimant has the necessary skills and education. If the claimant cannot, based on their age, education, skills, and rated limitations do some type of other work, then they will satisfy the Social Security definition of disability and they may be approved.

This is assuming, of course, that certain non-medical factors do not bar them from being approved, such as working and earning too much to be considered disabled. Or, for SSI claims, having too much in countable assets.

In essence, this is the five step sequential evaluation process used by all examiners and judges.

Note: a very high percentage of cases are denied in Texas and other states on the basis of the claimant being found able to do some type of other work. This fact accounts for why it is important to be very well prepared for a disability hearing because a judge may decide to have a vocational expert present to give testimony. That testimony may indicate that other work is possible. A VE or vocational expert, can be cross-examined, however, and their testimony should not be simply accepted at face value.

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

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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

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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.