Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Texas?
Residents of Texas who are disabled must first apply for benefits at their local Social Security Office and their disability applications are then forwarded to DDS (Disability Determination Services) by the Social Security Administration for a disability determination.
The Texas DDS, like other state disability agencies across the county, is completely funded by SSA to make their disability determinations. Consequently, SSA is responsible for making the final decision as to whether or not a making a disability determination, they forward the disability claim or reconsideration appeal back to their local Social Security offices for the final disability decision.
If you are applying for Social Security Disability in Texas you have a little better than the average chance of qualifying for disability benefits at the initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal levels of the Social Security Disability process.
Currently, about 32.6 percent of the initial disability claims processed by the Texas DDS are being approved for disability benefits compared to a national average of about 31.7 percent.
Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
If your initial disability claim is denied, you can appeal that decision with a reconsideration appeal. The Texas DDS makes both the initial disability claim and the reconsideration appeal disability decisions.
Social Security requires that a different disability examiner make the reconsideration appeal decision. Even though a different disability examiner makes your reconsideration appeal decision, it is unlikely you will qualify for disability at this level, however.
The reconsideration appeal approval rate is dismal in Texas as it is in all other states; the Texas reconsideration appeal approval rate of 12.4 percent is a little higher than the national reconsideration appeal rate of 11.0 percent. Still, this means that 87 percent of the disability applicants who file reconsideration appeals in Texas are denied disability.
If you are denied for disability on your reconsideration appeal, you must appeal the decision once again to keep your disability claim alive. Once your reconsideration appeal is denied you file a request for a Social Security Disability hearing, also referred to as an administrative law judge hearing. Unlike reconsideration appeals, disability hearing appeals are likely to result in disability benefits.
In Texas, like all other states, the disability hearing appeal has the highest approval rate of all levels of the Social Security Disability process. The average approval rate for Texas hearings offices is about 49 percent compared to a national average of about 58 percent.
Generally, it takes a nearly a year to be scheduled for a disability hearing in Texas. At the hearing level, it is generally advisable to get the help of a professional Social Security representative.
National statistics indicate that disability claimants who have representation are more likely to win their case (in a recent year, 62 percent of individuals with representation were approved versus 40 percent of unrepresented claimants).
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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