Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
Serving Austin, Waco and Surrounding Areas.
Contact a knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer who can guide you and take the guesswork out of the application process.
For years, you’ve paid Social Security taxes. If you become disabled and unable to work, you deserve Social Security Disability benefits. But obtaining disability from Social Security can be complicated and frustrating for inexperienced applicants. Many are initially denied. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer can guide you and take the guesswork out of the process.
Cotton, Castano & Richardson assists people from the initial application for Social Security Disability benefits through review by an administrative law judge and on through the appeals process.
If your child is disabled and has never worked, he or she may be able to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on your work record once he or she turns 18. By speaking with an attorney and learning about SSD benefits for disabled adult children, you could help your child get significantly more annual benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two benefits programs for disabled people. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a means-tested program. Applicants qualify for SSI benefits only if they have a low income and their personal resources are less than $2,000. The maximum individual SSI benefit is $721 per month as of 2014.
For disabled children under 18, SSI is the only disability benefit available. A minor child may qualify only if the family meets the means test.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the second type of benefit available for disabled people. These benefits are earned by paying payroll taxes. Claimants must have a work record to qualify. The benefits are often higher than SSI because the monthly payment is based on past earnings.
Children who are disabled when young are unlikely to have earned enough income to qualify for the higher SSDI benefits. However, a child may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits based on his or her mother or father’s work history if certain criteria are met. This includes adoptive parents. In some cases, an adult child may qualify based on a grandparent’s work history.
To qualify for adult child benefits, the applicant must:
The SSA’s “Blue Book” lists impairments that may make a person eligible for benefits. Part A of the Blue Book contains a listing of adult disabilities. Part B contains a listing of childhood disabilities.
A child must have had a condition listed in Part B when he or she was under the age of 18 in order to be considered disabled. Once the child is over 18, he or she must have a condition listed in Part A. Each listed condition lists certain symptoms that must accompany it.
If your child’s disability is not listed, then the condition must be medically equivalent in severity to those on the list. Your child must have met the SSA’s definition of a disabled child when under 18, and the SSA’s definition of a disabled adult once he or she is over 18, in order to be eligible for adult child benefits.
If you are disabled, it is important to fully understand your legal rights and the different types of Social Security benefits available to you. SSI is a program that could be available to those who do not qualify for standard Social Security Disability benefits. You should speak with our experienced Texas Supplemental Security Income attorneys to learn more about eligibility for SSI.
SSDI is a program designed for working people who become disabled. You must have a certain number of work credits to be eligible. SSI, on the other hand, is not a work-based program. It is not funded through payroll taxes and there is no minimum work requirement to qualify. This means that, in certain cases, people who have never worked at all can qualify for SSI benefits.
SSI does have its own criteria for qualification, however. It is an income and need-based program intended to provide income for children, the elderly and the disabled who do not have enough money to support themselves. This means that your household income and your resources must be below a certain level in order for you to be eligible for SSI benefits. These income numbers are subject to change annually, but as of 2012 according to the Social Security Administration:
Meeting the income and resource requirements for SSI is only the first step. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently disabled and that your disability meets the SSA’s criteria. This means that you must show that your:
Provided you can prove your disability is sufficiently severe and provided that you do not exceed the required income levels, you could be paid up to $698 per month in SSI benefits.
In certain cases, you could be eligible to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits provided you meet eligibility criteria for both programs. To learn more about whether this is an option, speak with an experienced Texas security disability lawyer at The Law Firm of Cotton, Castano & Richardson, PLLC.
More than half of the initial applications for SSI benefits in Texas are denied. Fortunately, there is an appeals process to help you get the benefits you deserve. This is an administrative appeals process with several steps of internal appeals with the SSA, including a request for review and a hearing. Only when the internal appeals process has been exhausted can you finally appeal to the federal court.
Because of the high number of denials and the challenges of the appeals process, it is extremely important to get knowledgeable legal assistance when applying for SSI benefits or dealing with an SSI denial.