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

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.

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?