Putting the Security in Social Security Disability Filing in Texas

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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  • Will the Social Security Judge Say If I Am Disabled?

    Determining DisabilityJust because your doctor says you’re disabled, doesn’t mean that the Social Security Administration will grant you disability. It is a good idea to get a lawyer to argue your case for benefits and present the facts in the most persuasive way possible.

    Who Determines If I am Disabled?

    Depending on the level of your case, it can be either a Medical Examiner or an Administrative Law Judge that determines if you are disabled. The Social Security Administration goes through three main levels in a disability case. At each level, your medical records are examined by a new person.

    The first two levels: "Initial Claim" and "Reconsideration"

    • Disability is determined by a Social Security Disability Examiner that works at a Disability Determination Service. The examiner is the person that reviews your medical records, information provided by your doctor, and any work history. The examiner will send a letter to your local Social Security office with their findings, but you do not get to meet with your examiner in person. This process is repeated twice and your claim is examined by two separate medical examiners.

    The third level: "Request for Hearing"

    • Disability is determined by an Administrative Law Judge. Many times people will go to a hearing with an attorney to speak to the judge in person or via video. The judge will read your cumulative Social Security file, which contains your medical records, work history, and reasons for your previous denials. He will also listen to your testimony and may question a medical or vocational expert to make a decision.

    What Can You Do?

    Many times, the Veterans' Affairs office, the food stamps office, or your doctors offices will write letters explaining that you are disabled. Unfortunately, the evaluation that the Social Security Administration performs is different from the evaluation that is done by those other offices. Although, it is still helpful to get letters from other offices to help prove that you are disabled. Try asking your doctors to list the reasons why they believe you are unable to work. The judges appreciate the feedback from your doctors regarding why you are unable to work or why you have limitations while working.

    To be considered disabled, the Social Security Administration has to decide that your medical conditions render you unable to maintain any substantial work, and isn’t expected to get better in the next year. Contact a Social Security disability lawyer at Packard Firm to learn about how we can help you.

  • Social Security is Demanding I Pay Them. What Should I Do?

    piggy bankGetting a notice that you owe the SSA money can be frightening, especially if you don’t have the money to pay them back.

    But don’t worry. If you receive an overpayment notice from the SSA you have several ways to move forward.

    What are my Options if I Receive a Social Security Overpayment Notice?

    If you receive a notification from the SSA that they are seeking money because of a past overpayment, you have three basic paths forward:

    • Appeal the overpayment
    • Pay the SSA the requested funds
    • Request a waiver

    The option to appeal is only available if the SSA did not in fact overpay you. So if the notification is correct, your only options are to pay or to request a waiver.

    How Do I Appeal a Social Security Overpayment?

    If you believe that an overpayment notice is incorrect, you have ten days from the day you receive a notice to request an appeal without affecting future Social Security payments.

    Because of the time-sensitive nature of appeals, you should contact a social security attorney as soon as you consider requesting an appeal.

    How Do I Receive a Social Security Overpayment Waiver?

    You can request a waiver from an SSA payment request even if the request is correct. Asking for a waiver is like asking the SSA to forgive the amount due.

    There are several ways you can obtain a waiver from an overpayment notice. You can show that:

    1) You are without fault for the overpayment AND that you are unable to afford to repay.

    OR

    2) You passed on another money making opportunity because of the amount you received from Social Security.

    OR

    3) You purchased something more expensive than you otherwise would have (such as a car or home) because of the amount you received from Social Security.

    How Does the SSA Determine if I Can Afford to Repay?

    When the SSA determines if you can repay it looks at whether your current income is being spent on things like:

    • Food
    • Clothing
    • Utilities
    • Medical expenses
    • Rent or mortgage

    If, however, you still have the funds from the overpayment or receive a back pay settlement the SSA will likely determine that you have the ability to repay.

    How Do I Decide What to Do?

    Because of the time sensitive nature of the process, and because individual circumstances can be complex. The best thing you can do to make the most informed decision on how to handle an SSA overpayment notification is to consult with an attorney. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals who have received overpayment notifications make the best decision for them and their families. Reach out to us today.

     

  • Will a Car Wreck Affect My Disability Benefits?

    car accident and cell phone Imagine you have waited so long to win your Social Security disability case, and then are involved in a car accident. What kind of impact will a car wreck case have on your monthly Social Security benefits when the auto accident case is solved?

    Understanding Car Wreck Cases and Disability Benefits

    Generally, most types of Social Security cases will not be affected. But, some will be. In Social Security cases where benefits could be affected by resolving your injury case, there are things you can do to keep the sum of the settlement and your monthly Social Security income benefits.

    • Special Needs Trust : A special needs trust can be established. This option is complicated and you need a lawyer who specializes in this area of ​​law. Basically, it allows you to save money and have it administered by a trustee. This money can be used to pay for most living necessities other than food, rent or clothing. If you use it that way, money that is separated by the trust will not affect your Social Security benefits.
    • Assign the money to other people: Often there is not enough money to cover or all the medical expenses and people involved in the accident. In these types of cases, you can allocate the money among those people in a way that reduces the impact on your Social Security case.
    • Use the money: Money will affect Social Security benefits if you have more than $ 2,000. You can spend the money that comes from the accident in normal household expenses. And once the money runs out, it will not have an impact on Social Security benefits will not be affected.

    Contact a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer

    If you have been involved in a car accident, and are receiving Social Security benefits, the law is very complex. We can help you. Call us today at 210-340-8877 and set up your free consultation.

  • At what point in the application process should I contact the lawfirm? Do I have to be denied before I can get help?

    If you are disabled and can't work, you should apply for social security benefits.  Give us a call and Social Security disability lawyer can help you out, at the beginning of the process or even if you have been denied once or even twice.  We can help you at the beginning or we can help you at the end when you are going in front of the judge.  Fill out the contact form here on the website or pick up the phone and give us a call and we will see what we can do to help you.

  • Can I Afford a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

    Those who need legal help with Social Security Disability may be hesitant to get a lawyer. If you are looking to apply for Social Security Disability, you likely don’t have another source of income or have a very limited income source, and if you’re already receiving some Social Security you are on a fixed income.

    Without a lawyer, the process of paperwork, appeals, and legal maneuvering can feel overwhelming. So what should you do? You should get the legal help you need. It is much more affordable than you may realize.

    How Much Money Do I Need to Pay Upfront?

    Absolutely nothing.

    Attorneys do not charge any fees upfront to work on your Social Security case. They do not charge to meet with you. They do not bill you hourly. There is no financial risk in speaking with a Social Security attorney since the service is free.

    How Much Will I Need to Take Out of My Future Benefits?

    Absolutely nothing.

    If an attorney doesn’t charge you upfront, then they must bill you once you start receiving benefits, right? No. Whatever ongoing benefits you receive from the Social Security Administration are entirely yours. You will not have to live on a tightened income after your case just because you got an attorney.

    How Will I Pay if I Lose?

    You won’t have to pay.

    Some people might worry that if they lose their Social Security case, not only will they not have the money they need, they’ll have lawyers to pay with the money they don’t have. Don’t worry. If you don’t win your Social Security case, you pay your lawyers nothing.

    So How Do My Lawyers Get Paid?

    If I don’t pay them upfront, and I don’t pay them from my benefits, if I won’t get billed, and I don’t pay if I lose, then how does my lawyer ever get paid?

    If you win your Social Security case, you’ll likely be paid in two ways. First, you’ll be paid an ongoing monthly benefit. Nothing from your monthly checks go to your lawyer.

    Second, most cases are also given a lump sum called “back pay”. This back pay is a reimbursement check for all the months that Social Security Administration should have been sending you checks, but wasn’t. Your attorney will charge 25% of this back pay. Typically when Social Security Administration goes to disburse your back pay check, they will actually send a check for 25% to your lawyer, and the remaining 75% will be sent to you so that you don’t even have to worry about it yourself.

    What Does it Cost if I Don’t Get a Lawyer?

    This article is mostly about all the costs of getting an attorney. But before you make a decision, you should also consider the costs of not get an attorney.

    This process can be is overwhelming. There are many technical rules and regulations that can actually increase the amount of back pay and monthly pay that you get. Many people that handle their case on their own end up missing out on extra funds because they are not familiar with the technical rules. The Packard Law Firm has a special department that focuses specifically on maximizing the benefits and back pay you that you will receive.

    If you need legal help with your Social Security, the best and most financially prudent thing you can do is get a lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals who need help with Social Security get the help they need in an affordable way. Reach out to us today.

     

  • Prepare for Social Security Disability Hearing in San Antonio

    Read four tips on how to help you prepare for your disability hearing.  For more information, contact us for a FREE evaluation of your disability claim.

    1. Know your story!

    Think about the reasons you cannot work.  What kind of problems give you the most trouble at work? Do you have a hard time sitting, standing, using your hands? Do you have a hard time concentrating or being around people? Know what your physical or mental limits are that may keep you from being a good employee. Make sure those limitations are heard in your application. 

    2. Get your Evidence together: 

    Evidence is key! You absolutely must have your medical records, documentation and other information necessary to support your allegations. Make sure the Social Security Administration is presented with all information relevant to your case.

    3. Double Check Social Security’s Work: 

    Social Security will sometimes lose your documents. Get written proof that SSA received all of your important documents in your case

    4. Tell Your Doctors everything: 

    Talk with your doctors about ALL of your limitations, especially if you have having problems sitting, standing, using your hands, or concentrating. If your condition changes or if you are having a “bad day”, you must let your doctors know. Your doctors need to know how often you hare having “bad days” and what your conditions are like on those days.

    Contact an experienced San Antonio Social Security disability lawyer to schedule a FREE consulation today!

  • How Will Our San Antonio Social Security Lawyers Help You?

    The Help You Need. The Benefits You’ve Earned.

    If you are trying to get disability benefits, you are most likely struggling both physically and financially. We're here to help. The Social Security lawyers at the Packard Law Firm will be with you every step of the way.

    If you need to apply for Social Security disability…

    Applying for disability benefits in San Antonio is a complicated process, and most people are denied the first time. But we can walk you through the application to help you avoid errors that may not be easy to fix later on. The earlier you get us involved, the better.

    Common Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Social Security

    What does it cost?

    We will not charge you any fee or case expense, unless you win. The most we will ever charge is 25% of your past due benefits.

    Claim has been denied by Social Security

    Don't give up! It is devastating when you know you cannot work and your claim for disability is denied. The process to appeal can be long and tedious but success is possible. However, you have a limited amount of time to file for an appeal. A quick, confidential talk with a Social Security disability lawyer is probably the best thing you can do for your case at this point. We know the process. We know the pitfalls. We’ll help you prepare for your appeal and we’ll help you win. Contact our office today.

    Learn More About The Disability Appeals Process

    If you have a hearing scheduled…

    If Social Security has notified you of an upcoming hearing, it's very important to be prepared. You are strongly encouraged to get legal representation.

    At The Packard Law Firm, Social Security disability law is our primary focus. Our local, experienced disability lawyers...

    • analyze your Social Security file
    • prepare your case
    • obtain important evidence
    • prepare your testimony
    • make helpful legal arguments before and during the hearing
    • question witnesses
    • cross-examine any medical and/or vocational experts who testify at your hearing

    Attending your Social Security hearing alone is risky. At The Packard Law Firm, we know which legal theories and fact patterns are most persuasive to the judges. We will meet with you before the hearing so you can be prepared to persuasively present your case.

    If you can’t work and you need Social Security disability benefits, Samuel Packard can help. As one of Texas’ only board certified Social Security disability specialists, he helps people in Texas win disability benefits. Contact our office to discuss your disability claim.

    Contact Us Today

    If all your appeals have been denied…

    You can still file an appeal in Federal Court. You’ll need an attorney to do this, and the Social Security disability lawyers at the Packard Law Firm has extensive experience in Federal Court. Not every denial is appropriate for a Federal appeal, but with a free consultation we’ll help you determine whether yours is.

    Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Case

  • Are You Required To Pay Back A Disability Overpayment?

    Sometimes Social Security pays people more benefits than they were supposed to. They call it overpayment. Overpayments can be caused by changes in your living situation, marital status, resource amount, disability status or you did not report any changes to Social Security on time or at all. Other reasons that you might have an overpayment are, your income is more than estimated or Social Security has incorrectly calculated your benefits because they had incorrect or incomplete information. It is always best to report any changes to the Social Security Administration in order to avoid overpayments. 

    When someone receives an overpayment notice, they have a few options to take care of the overpayment. The letter will say that they need the full refund within 30 days. If you cannot pay the full amount the letter will say that you can choose to have a percentage of your monthly benefit withheld until the overpayment is completely paid. This percentage is usually 10% or less of your monthly benefit amount. The letter will also state the month that the withholding begins. 

    In most cases, the beneficiary (the person who filed for and receives benefits) must pay back the overpayment, but there are exceptions. For example, in some cases, the Social Security Administration will waive any attempt to recover overpayment if an individual is without fault and recovery would defeat the purpose of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program (See, CFR § 416.553).

    Appealing an Overpayment Notice

    You can file an appeal if you think you were not overpaid, or if you think the overpayment amount is incorrect.You will have 10 days from the time that you receive the letter to file an appeal saying that you were not overpaid after you have received the notice. If you appeal within 10 days, then you will be able to keep your monthly payments until Social Security is able to make a decision.

    Filing a Waiver

    In addition to an appeal, you can file a waiver. This is when you admit that you were overpaid but that it wasn't your fault and cannot afford to pay it back. There is no time limit to requesting a waiver.

     

    The Social Security Administration will probably ask for proof of income and expenses to prove that you can’t afford to pay back the overpayment. Otherwise, the overpayment could be taken over time from your monthly benefits, or federal income tax.

     

    If your appeal for reconsideration or waiver are denied, you may continue to appeal the decision and request a hearing with the Administrative Law Judge. If your request continues to be denied, you will have to pay back the overpayment either in full or have a percentage withheld from your monthly benefits. There is also a way to request paying back the overpayment at a rate you can afford. You can submit the form SSA-634 Request for Change in Repayment Rate to ask that Social Security withhold less than the percentage that they suggest. If you no longer receive SSI, you can also make monthly payment arrangements with Social Security. 

     

    Remember, you do have the right to view the documents Social Security used to determine if you have an overpayment. You can always request those documents at your local Social Security Office. 

     

     

  • Is there a time limit to file for SSI or SSDI?

    Yes. SSI benefits start accruing the first full month after you apply, so you lose money the longer you wait to apply for SSI. Since SSDI allows you to go back and get benefits for up to one year before the application date, there is less of a time limit. But, you should still apply as soon as possible once you become disabled. Also, for SSDI, you must (usually) become disabled no later than five years after you stop working fulltime. If you have questions about filing for disability, contact a Social Security disability lawyer today to learn about your options. 

  • What types of SSI or SSDI cases win?

    To win disability benefits (SSI or SSDI), Social Security must believe that your limitations stop you from being able to work full-time. There is no "best" type of case. Your chances of winning do go up significantly if you have a good medical history (or paper trail) from the time you are disabled. Also, the laws granting benefits are more favorable for people over the age of 50 who cannot do the type of work that they have previously done.

    Here is what the government finds most important:

    1. Medical Treatment: The kind of medical treatment you get is by far the number 1 factor in winning a disability claim. If I had to put a percentage on this, I would say 80% of the case depends on the medical treatment. The judges want to see medical treatment that is frequent, intense, and has continued over time.
      • The more frequent your treatment is (every week or month as opposed to once a month or quarter) the more likely you will win.
      • The more intense the treatment (surgery recommendations as opposed to general health and wellness checkups) the more likely you will win.
      • The longer your condition lasts the more likely you will win. Is this a problem that lasted a few months and then got better? Or is this a problem that has been going on for several years?
      • Note: The best type of case is when you have two or three of these together. I.e. very intense treatment, that requires frequent follow up appointments and that it has been going on several years.
    2. Work History: The judges love to see someone who has work history most of his or her life before becoming disabled. To the judge, this shows that the person wants to work when he or she is physically/mentally able.
    3. Organization: Your case can only be as good as your preparation. You have to make sure that all the government deadlines are met, forms are filled out, and medical evidence is submitted on time. The judge cannot know the truth without these records.
    4. Honorable mention: Be honest. Do not overstate your limitations. Do not underestimate them. Share as much information as possible with both your doctors and your judge. If the truth is that you cannot work, then embrace it.

    To know if your specific case has a good chance of winning, contact us for a free consultation. If you’d like help filling out the paperwork and want to be represented by an attorney, the attorneys at the Packard Law Firm would be glad to help.