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How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in Texas

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
March 18, 2024  ·  2 min read
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Texas residents who cannot work because of an injury or illness have access to federal disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. SSDI and SSI pay monthly disability benefits and provide health insurance. 

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 580,000 Texans receive disability benefits. In this article, you’ll learn more about SSDI and SSI and how to qualify for disability benefits in Texas. 


How to qualify for disability benefits in Texas

Once you submit your disability application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews your disability claim to learn about your condition and decide whether you qualify for disability benefits. It’s helpful to understand the SSA’s evaluation process so you can submit the correct information and boost your chances of winning your case. The SSA’s evaluation process has five steps:

  1. Are you working at a substantial gainful activity level? If you are healthy enough to work at what the SSA calls a “substantial gainful level” (SGA) or enough to earn over $1,550 in 2024, the SSA will not grant you disability benefits.

  2. Do you have a severe impairment? To qualify for disability, your impairment must be projected to last longer than 12 months and must severely limit your ability to work and perform basic tasks.

  3. Does your disability meet the SSA’s definition of disability? The SSA’s Blue Book lists qualifying medical conditions that meet the requirement for severity to be considered a disability. If your diagnosis is not in the Blue Book, you must provide medical evidence and prove you cannot work.

  4. Can you do work you’ve done in the past? At this step, the SSA considers whether you could still do work you’ve done previously and how much work you could do with your current limitations.

  5. Can you do any other types of work? If you are under 50, the SSA will also consider your education and experience to decide if there is any job you could theoretically still do.

To learn more about the disability rules if you are over 50, read our guide. 

The process of qualifying for disability benefits in Texas is in-depth. This is why it’s so important to fill out your disability application as fully as possible, giving the SSA the information they need to understand the severity of your condition. 


Social Security disability benefits

SSDI and SSI are federal programs that pay monthly benefits and provide health care for disabled workers, though the payment amounts and coverage differs:

  • SSDI benefits: Beneficiaries receive Medicare insurance and monthly payments. In 2024, the maximum payment amount is $3,822.

  • SSI benefits: The SSI program provides Medicaid coverage and monthly benefits. The maximum SSI payment in 2024 is $943 per month.

 Learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI.

How to qualify for SSDI in Texas

The eligibility requirements for SSDI include:

  • You’re disabled under government rules 

  • You have worked and paid Social Security taxes (you generally need 40 credits for disability)

You accrue work credits from the SSA based on your earnings. You get one credit for every $1,730 in your paycheck in 2024, whether through wages or self-employment income. You can earn a maximum of four credits per calendar year.

Read our article on how to check your number of work credits

How to qualify for SSI in Texas

SSI is a need-based program, and the eligibility requirements are based on resources and assets. You may qualify for SSI in Texas if:

  • You meet the SSA’s definition of disabled

  • You have very few assets (less than $2,000, or $3,000 for married couples)

  • You make very little income (less than $943 a month)

Disability Payment Amounts in Texas

How to apply for disability benefits in Texas

If you’re a Texas resident applying for disability benefits, you can submit your application online or in person.

  1. Apply online: First, create an account on SSA.gov. From there, you can access the disability application and when you’re done filling out the paperwork, submit it to the SSA.

  2. Apply in person: Use our SSA office directory to find your local SSA office. Then give them a call or stop by. You can get a printed copy of the application, and an SSA claims agent can answer any questions.


Do I need a disability lawyer in Texas?

Technically, no — you are not required to have a lawyer when you apply for disability. But working with a good disability attorney is the smart thing. When you have a lawyer, your chances of winning disability benefits increase three times. 

Working with a lawyer is beneficial because they will help you:

  • Fill out paperwork comprehensively and correctly

  • Obtain medical records from providers

  • File an appeal within the correct timeline

  • Prepare for a hearing and represent you to the judge

How much does a disability lawyer cost in Texas?

Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning they only get paid if they win you benefits. Atticus lawyers do not charge anything upfront. If you work with Atticus, your lawyer will be paid a percentage of your final payout. This fee is federally capped at 25% or $7,200, whichever is less. 

Atticus has helped more than 16,000 people in Texas.

SSA offices in Texas

From Austin to Fort Worth, Houston to San Antonio, there are 66 SSA offices throughout the Lone Star State. Click the link below to find your local Social Security office:

Abilene

1202 E South 11Th St

Abilene, TX 79602

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 607-9525

Fax Number: (833) 902-2586

Alice

1000 Medical Ctr Blvd

Alice, TX 78332

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 388-8744

Fax Number: (833) 950-3019

Amarillo

4750 Canyon Dr

Amarillo, TX 79109

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 803-6318

Fax Number: (833) 519-3209

Angleton

2921 N Valderas St

Angleton, TX 77515

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 338-2940

Fax Number: (833) 902-2570

Austin

1029 Camino La Costa

Austin, TX 78752

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 627-6991

Fax Number: (833) 515-0511

Austin

5508 Hwy 290 West Bldg B

Austin, TX 78735

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 221-3523

Fax Number: (833) 950-2398

Balch Springs

2300 Dunson Dr

Balch Springs, TX 75180

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 531-1683

Fax Number: (833) 950-2387

Beaumont

8455 Dishman Rd Ste A

Beaumont, TX 77713

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 613-2864

Fax Number: (833) 515-0524

Click here for a list of all the SSA offices in Texas.


Get help applying for benefits in Texas

If you qualify for disability benefits in Texas and are ready to apply, a lawyer can help. Here at Atticus, we provide free legal advice and can connect you with a qualified lawyer at no cost. Get started by taking our two-minute disability quiz.

Find a great disability lawyer in Texas.

Frequently asked questions about Texas disability benefits

What qualifies you for disability in Texas?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write-up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Texas?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Texas?

It takes an average of 7 months to get an initial disability decision in Texas. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes just over two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Texas?

The average SSDI payment in Texas is $1,702 per month. The average SSI payment is $583. What you’ll earn depends on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Texas?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Texas have a state disability program?

No, Texas doesn't have its own state disability program. Only five states have a state program (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island). Residents of Texas can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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