Answering All Your Personal Injury and Social Security Disability

When a catastrophic event puts your future at risk, anxiety and uncertainty will cause you to have a million questions. What can you do? How can you provide for your family? Will you recover?

Allow the extensive experience and knowledge of the Packard Law Firm put your worries to rest. Come learn the answers to your questions and see how we can help pull you out of the depths of uncertainty.

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  • What is considered "disabled"?

    To be considered disabled, individuals must have a medical or psychological condition that makes working difficult or even impossible. The applicant's impairment must have kept them from doing Substantial Gainful Activity over a 12 months period of time. Keep in mind that having symptoms is not enough. The applicant must have medical or psychological evidence (medical records) to prove to the Social Security Administration that the symptoms actually exist. If yo have further question, contact a Social Security disability lawyer today. 

  • Can I qualify for both SSI and SSDI?

    It is possible to qualify for both SSI and SSDI, although it is unlikely. If you qualify for both forms of benefits, that is called concurrent benefits. Unfortunately SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and will only apply if your income is low enough to be supplemented. In other words, you would only get SSI if your SSDI benefits are too low. At that point, SSI would step in and supplement your benefits to bring them up to a combined total of $710 a month.

    Questions? Contact a Social Security disability lawyer today at the Packard Law Firm.

  • What are my chances of winning?

    At the initial level of an applicant's Social Security Disability case, the chances of being denied are about 70%. At the hearing level, the chances are about 40%. Having a Social Security disability lawyer present in the case significantly raises applicant's chances of winning and increases your chances of getting more back pay.

  • What is DDS?

    If you are involved in a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, or considering filing for SSD, you may have come across the acronym DDS. What does DDS stand for? How will DDS impact your disability claim? And what do you need to know about DDS to give yourself the best chance of success?

    Understanding the DDS

    DDS stands for Disability Determination Services. Each state has an agency that evaluates whether someone making a disability claim is disabled.

    This agency works for the state, but is funded by the Federal Government and follows rules set by the Federal Government. Most states’ agencies are called DDS, though some states alter the name such as Disability Determination Bureau, or Division of Disability Determination.

    Like most states, Texas’ agency is called Disability Determination Services.

    The DDS is different than the local Social Security field office. The field office is local, and where disability claims are initially filed. This office verifies the non-medical requirements for receiving SSDI. The DDS evaluates the medical portions of the disability claim.

    The DDS in Texas

    Texas’ DDS offices are located in Austin:

    6101 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78741

    In Texas, the DDS is a division of the state’s Health and Human Services. However, the DDS was moved to this organization from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services  as part of an organization restructure in 2016.

    The DDS and You

    The DDS plays a significant role in whether or not your disability claim is approved. So it’s valuable to understand how they gather their information. The DDS prefers to get their information in this order:

    1. Your own medical records. They want to use your records from your doctors. If that information is not available, or doesn’t answer all their questions, then they will move on for additional information.
    2. A medical examination from your doctor.
    3. A medical examination from an independent doctor.

    Based on this information, the DDS has a 95.5% accuracy rate. That means one in every twenty-two denials is inaccurate. If you believe you are part of this group, you will want to appeal your denial.

    Questions About DDS?

    If you are looking to better understand the DDS’ process or appeal one of their decisions, the best thing you can do is consult with a Social Security disability lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals make the best decisions about Disability for them and their families. Reach out to us today.

  • What is SSI?

    SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. The supplemental income is provided through a monthly check to those who are elderly, blind, or have a disability. You do not need to have a work history to qualify for SSI. However, you will have to qualify financially through the very low income and asset limits set up by the Social Security Administration. Contact a Social Security disability lawyer today if you have questions about applying for disability benefits. 

  • What is SSDI?

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a major US Government program to help those who cannot work due to a disability. It is administered by the Social Security Administration.

    If you or a loved one cannot work, SSDI may be a program that can help you make ends meet.

    How Do I Qualify for SSDI?

    SSDI is like an insurance program for those who can’t work because of a disability. You only qualify if you have been paying your “premiums” in the form of FICA Social Security taxes.

    There are two major requirements:

    1. You have a qualifying disability
    2. You have earned enough “work credits”

    If you are unable to work but do not have a work history, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but probably not SSDI.

    SSDI is also only for those younger than sixty-five who do not yet qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

    Does my Disability Qualify for SSDI?

    To qualify for SSDI, the answer to each of the following questions must be no:

    • Can you do the same job you did before?
    • Can you adjust to working in another job?
    • Are you earning more than $1180 per month (this is the 2018 amount, it rises slightly each year) from any work?
    • Will your disability last less than twelve months?

    If the answer to any of those question is yes, you probably do not qualify for SSDI. But there are a few special circumstances.

    Have I Earned Enough Work Credits to Qualify for SSDI?

    The first step to knowing if you have enough work credits is to know what counts as a work credit.

    You earn work credits during every year that you work. In a year, you can earn up to four work credits. Each year the Social Security Administration sets the amount that you must earn for each credit. In 2018 the amount is $1320. Once you’ve made four times the amount for that year, you’ve received the maximum four credits for that year.

    Only income that you pay social security taxes on qualify.

    So how many work credits do you need to qualify for SSDI? It depends on your age.

    • Under 24 years old, you need to have 6 credits in the last 3 years.
    • Between 24 and 31 years old, you need to have 2 credits for every year since you turned 21.
    • Between 31 and 42 years old, you need to have 20 credits in the last 10 years.
    • Older than 42 years old, you need to have 20 credits in the last 10 years, plus one additional lifetime credit for every year you are older than 42.

    How do Family Members Qualify for SSDI?

    If you are related to someone who qualifies for SSDI you may also qualify.

    You usually qualify for SSDI if you are:

    • A dependant child or stepchild of a disabled worker
    • Spouse or ex-spouse caring for the child of a disabled worker
    • Spouse of a disabled worker who is over 62 years old and doesn’t qualify for Social Security benefits on their own

    How much money do I get from SSDI?

    The amount you receive from SSDI depends on the amount you paid into the system. The formula for figuring it out is complicated and changes every year. In essence, you receive most of the initial money you pay into the system, and a smaller percentage the more money you paid into the system.

    The maximum SSDI payment in 2018 is $2,788 and increases each year.

    You can look up how much money you have paid into your Social Security online.

    Family members can receive up to 50% of a disabled workers monthly disability amount. The total paid to all family members cannot be more than 150% of the amount the disabled worker receives.

    Need Help Applying for SSDI?

    Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to apply for the SSDI benefits. If you have questions about how to navigate applying for SSDI, or questions about what you qualify for, you’ll want to contact a Social Security disability lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals who are considering SSDI make the best decisions for them and their families. Reach out to us today.