Social Security Disability Benefits
Authored By: Texas Partnership for Legal Access
- Information "Disability Benefits" pamphlet by the Social Security Administration Download - Managing Your Social Security Check.
Social Security Disability
From The SSA:
Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not. Certain family members of disabled workers also can receive money from Social Security.
The pamphlet by the Social Security Administration gives more information about the availability of disability benefits, including helpful charts to determine eligibility and instructions on how to apply.
Already applied for disability benefits?
If you have already filed a disability claim with Social Security, you may contact the Texas Disability Determination Service (DDS) with questions about processing your claim. Call DDS at (512) 437-8000 or 1-800-252-7009 with questions concerning your claim or with information that updates your application.
Already receiving disability benefits?
Generally, your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition does not improve and you are unable to work. Under the law, you cannot receive payments until you have been disabled for at least 5 full months. This means that your payments usually begin in your sixth month of disability. If you applied for benefits after May 1, 2011, they will be paid by either direct deposit or through the Direct Express Card program. When you applied for social security benefits, you should have signed up to receive your payments through one of these methods. Keep in mind that your benefits m be taxable income and it is your responsibility to notify the social security administration of any changes that could affect your eligibility.
For more information on these and other important topics, please click here to read "What You Need to Know When you Get Social Security Disability Benefits" by the social security administration.
Need Help Managing Your Social Security Check?
If you have trouble using your social security check to pay your bills and would like help managing your check, you can ask the Social Security Administration to appoint someone to help you. This person is called a representative payee. This person can be a guardian, spouse, relative, friend, non-profit agency or anyone else who is qualified and willing to serve. For more information on this process, click here to read "Managing Your Social Security Check" pamphlet by the Legal Hotline for Texans.
Disability Under Review?
By law, the social security administration (SSA) is required to follow up with people receiving disability benefits to find out if they are still disabled. Generally, if your condition has not improved or if your condition still keeps you from working, you will continue receiving your benefits. As a first step, the SSA will ask your doctors and other medical sources for your medical records. They will also ask these sources about how your condition limits your activities, what your medical tests say about the duration of your condition and what medical treatments you have been given. If the SSA needs more information after these first steps, you may be required to undergo a special examination. The SSA will pay for this special examination if it is required.
For more information on how the Social Security Administration decides if you are still disabled and eligible to receive ongoing disability benefits, click here to read "How We Decide If You Are Still Disabled" by the social security administration.
Disability Benfits Wrongfully Terminated?
If you disagree with a decision from Social Security to terminate your disability benefits, you can appeal that decision. This means that the social security administration (SSA) will look at its decision again and change the decision if it is wrong. After you receive your letter from the SSA, you will have 60 days to ask for an appeal. Keep in mind that it will be assumed that you received the letter 5 days after it was sent unless you can prove that you did not receive it until later. If you miss the 60 day deadline, you may still be able to appeal if the SSA decides that you had a good reason for missing the deadline.
To make sure that your benefit payments continue during the appeal process, you should ask for them to be continued within 10 days of getting your benefits cancellation letter. If you lose your appeal, you will have to pay back some or all of the money that was paid to you during the appeal process.
For more information on the appeals process including levels of appeals and important deadlines, click here to read "Your Rights to Question the Decision to Stop Your Disability Benefits" by the social security administration.