Is Diabetes A Veterans Disability in Houston?

Diabetes is prevalent among veterans, who make up nine percent of the general population. Twenty-five percent of VA hospital patients suffer from varying degrees of diabetes, and many are unable to work because of it. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation and end-stage renal disease for most VA patients.

Is Diabetes A Veterans Disability in Houston?

You can apply for disability on the basis of diabetes if it’s service related, and the degree of your disability will depend on the seriousness of your case. The biggest hurdle is establishing the connection between the onset of diabetes and your military service.

Symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss

If you’ve been diagnosed, you should also have your hemoglobin A1C levels checked every three to six months. This test measures blood glucose levels of the previous two to three months.

Two complications from diabetes that affect your ratings are hypoglycemic reactions and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA.)

In the first, blood glucose levels run very low, frequently as a result of diabetes medication. DKA is a result of a buildup of acids in the blood, and can also be a result of medications. However, occasional episodes of either of these conditions don’t affect your ratings. Frequent hospital visits and diabetes care appointments that indicate severe diabetes that could have an effect on your rating.

Is It Service Connected?

If you served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, either in the country or on a ship that was in the waters, the VA presumes a service connection. That’s because many veterans who served in Vietnam during this time period were exposed to Agent Orange, a powerful chemical herbicide used to destroy thick jungle foliage. One of the well-documented side effects of Agent Orange exposure is Type 2 Diabetes (also called diabetes mellitus). Because of this causation, Vietnam veterans do not have to prove a service connection.

Outside of the time frame, you will have to establish and prove a distinct connection to your time in the service.

Demonstrating Service-Related Diabetes

Whether you have medical records from the military and/or VA stating this connection, or you’ve since had a diagnosis from a private physician, you must show a documented link.

You’ll need to gather medical evidence in order to show a service connection. These can be medical records from the military, from the VA, or from a private doctor post-discharge.

You’ll need to get a copy of your C-file from the VA and review your records for references to diabetes, pre-diabetes and related symptoms. You should review both your VA and military medical records. You will also need all private, post-military medical records. You’ll use these to show a chain of events that led to diabetes.

Should your diagnosis be within one year of discharge to a compensable degree (at least 10%), it will be presumed to be service-related.

Ratings For Diabetes

The VA rates your condition according to its severity 38 CFR 4.119, Diagnostic Code 7913. Factors such as how much the condition limits your daily activity (such as working) determine your rating. More severe cases and conditions bring higher ratings.

Your monthly compensation will ultimately depend on your combined rating, which could include other conditions. When the VA approves your disability claim, you’ll receive a rating based on the evidence you provided.

As of December 2018, the following is the VA’s schedule of disability benefits:

  • 10 percent rating for disability: $140.05 monthly
  • 20 percent rating for disability: $276.84 monthly
  • 40 percent rating for disability: $617.73 monthly
  • 60 percent rating for disability: $1,113.86 monthly
  • 100 percent rating for disability: $3,057.13 monthly

Helping Houston’s Veterans

Diabetes causes a number of problems, and in some cases, cause you to be disabled.  William Herren is a veterans’ disability attorney who has helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get their benefits. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You won’t owe a fee until we win your case.

Is Long Term Disability Income Taxable in Houston TX?

One of the things you’ll deal with as you begin receiving long term disability income is the difference when you file your tax return. Is it considered taxable income, or not? You may have heard conflicting or confusing advice on the subject. The basic answer is, it depends. We’ll explain the difference.

Is Long Term Disability Income Taxable in Houston TX?

How Did You Pay Your Premiums?

You may have paid your premiums out of your paycheck, separately from your employer, or your employer may have paid it. Or you may have paid part of the premiums, while your employer paid the rest of it. How the premiums were paid makes a big difference.

If you have an individual policy and used after-tax dollars to pay for your LTD premiums, you’ve already paid taxes on the money, so your long term disability income payments are tax-free. However, you can’t deduct the payments as a medical expense like you would with health insurance.

Using pre-tax dollars to pay your individual LTD premiums reduces your taxable income until you begin receiving payments. Once you do, your LTD payment becomes a “taxable income,” because you saved taxes earlier. Therefore, you’ll have to pay taxes on the payments.

If you purchase a group policy through an association, the policies are similar to individual policies, but you can’t deduct the premiums. The tax ramifications are generally the same as the individual policies, and the benefits are tax-free.

Employer-Sponsored/Paid Premiums

The rules are a little different when you are under an employer-paid policy.

When your employer pays all of your premiums but doesn’t include it in your gross income, your long term disability income payments will be taxable.

If you pay part of your premiums, the tax liability will be shared. The same rules apply for pre-tax and after-tax dollars for the portion that you pay for yourself.

If your employer offers a so-called “cafeteria plan,” where you can choose disability as well as other insurance benefits, they’re normally paid on a pre-tax basis. In some cases, the employer for some benefits up to a certain limit. After that, you pay for additional benefits you choose over and above the set limit. These additional benefits can be paid pre-tax or after-tax.

Should you chose to pay with after-tax dollars, that part of your income will be considered tax-free, but you will be taxed on the employer-paid portion. If you pay with pre-tax dollars, you’ll be taxed on both your portion and the employer-paid portion.

Should You Use Pre-Tax Or After-Tax Dollars?

There are benefits to both methods. One way or the other, you still pay taxes on LTD income.

If you never need to file an LTD claim for benefits, you’ll save money on taxes by paying with pre-tax dollars. But if there’s a chance you’ll be filing a claim for disability, you may be better off using after-tax dollars. You’ve already paid taxes on the money you used, so your benefits will be tax-free.

How you pay for your LTD policy is a personal decision. The IRS offers some information on its website. Discussing your options with a tax professional can help you decide which method is right for you.

Your Houston Long Term Disability Attorney

We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians have received their LTD benefits. Need help? The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and help you through the process, and give you one less thing to worry about. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

As A Veteran That Was Exposed To Agent Orange Can I Qualify For Long Term Disability In Houston, TX?

If you’re one of the many veterans who was exposed to Agent Orange during military service, you may have also experienced chronic health problems. Skin rashes, chronic pain, Type 2 Diabetes, respiratory issues, and peripheral neuropathy are just some of the identified disorders that are known side effects of Agent Orange and other powerful herbicides deployed during the Vietnam War.

As A Veteran That Was Exposed To Agent Orange Can I Qualify For Long Term Disability In Houston, TX?

The VA presumes that an individual who Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam from 01/09/1962 to 05/07/1975 are presumed to be exposed to these harsh chemicals.

Were You Exposed?

The VA lists on its website where exposure could have occurred during your service tenure. You’re presumed to have exposure if you served:

  • On C-123 Airplanes, between 1/9/1962 and 05/07/1975
  • On Thailand Military Bases, between 01/09/1962 and 05/07/1975
  • In Vietnam or Korea, between 01/09/1962 and 05/07/1975
  • Outside of Vietnam or Korea, between 01/09/1962 and 05/07/1975
  • In Testing and Storage Areas Outside of Vietnam, between 1944 and a yet-to-be-determined date
  • On U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Ships in Vietnam, between 01/09/1962 and 05/07/1975
  • In waters in or near Vietnam, between 01/09/1962 and 05/07/1975

Long Term Disability

You may have already applied to the VA for benefits due to AO exposure. But if you’re now working in a civilian occupation and are having issues with a service-related medical condition, long-term disability may be a possibility.

If you are facing disability, the first thing to do is request and review your LTD policy. Your coverage specifically depends on what your policy says. Some policies may specifically exclude military service-connected conditions, or call them “injuries or illnesses sustained due to an act of war.” It’s important to know before applying if your policy will cover you or not. Illnesses after AO exposure may also be considered “pre-existing conditions,” excluding them from LTD.

But if your service-related exposure did not manifest, such as cancer, until long after your service career ended, you may need a re-evaluation by a medical professional. Many conditions may occur during the service, but don’t exhibit symptoms until much later, interfering with your ability to work now.

You should also find out if your LTD policy contains an “offset” clause. That is, if you are receiving VA benefits for a disability related to AO exposure, your insurance company may reduce your LTD payments by the amount you receive from the VA or other sources (such as SSDI.)

You should also anticipate that your insurance company will work hard to deny your claim any way it can. This is where an experienced disability attorney can help defend you against an insurance company’s “bad faith” actions.

Resources For AO Veterans

The website for the Vietnam Veterans Of America offers information and resources for veterans, including an entire section on Agent Orange. Included are brochures on veterans health, including a self-help guide to Agent Orange exposure.

The VA also offers additional information about Agent Orange exposure on its website.

We Help Houston Veterans

Long-term disability can be a difficult process. William Herren is a disability attorney who has helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get the benefits they deserve, including veterans. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You don’t owe a fee until we win your case.

What If My Application For Disability Benefits In Houston, TX Is Denied? Can I Appeal The Decision?

You’ve gathered all your medical records and filled out all the forms that were required. But after carefully preparing your application and sending it in on time, you were still denied. What do you do now?

The truth is, more than half the people who apply for benefits are denied the first time they apply. You have the right to an appeal within 60 days, so use it. Don’t assume that a denial is the end of everything, or worse, re-apply without legal help from a disability lawyer.

What If My Application For Disability Benefits In Houston, TX Is Denied? Can I Appeal The Decision?

The Process Of Appeals

Many people assume that a denial is the end of their application and either give up entirely or re-apply. Both are incorrect, and you will lose valuable time and your appeal rights in both scenarios.

There are four steps to the appeals process in Texas, and they have to be done in order.

  • Request for Reconsideration—this involves turning in your same paperwork to another SSA representative for review. You can also include additional information that was omitted from your original application. About one out of six people who request reconsideration are approved at this stage.
  • The Disability Hearing—you’ll go in front of an administrative law judge who will hear your case and decide if you are qualified for disability. Expert witnesses, such as a medical expert to discuss your condition and a vocational expert that can advise on what kind of work you may be qualified to perform. However, you are allowed to bring witnesses as well as present any new evidence that has come to light since your application or last denial.
  • ·The Appeals Council—if the judge denies your request, you can bring your case to the next level. This council consists of administrative law judges that were not involved with your case previously. These judges won’t consider any new evidence, however, they will make sure that the previous judge followed proper laws and procedure in deciding your case.

These judges can either agree with the original judge’s findings or overturn the decision and award your disability benefits. They can also send the case back to the prior administrative law judge with comments about any mistakes made in the case.

  • Federal Court Review—this is where you’ll file a lawsuit if you disagree with the decisions of the previous courts.

Why You Need A Disability Attorney

Just applying for disability is complicated and confusing. Going through the process of appeals is even more complicated as well as challenging. Finding an attorney who understands the process and knows what to do will make the process much easier, and increase your chances of winning on appeal.

Call Us For Help With Your Disability Appeal

If you didn’t have legal help with your disability application, don’t leave things to chance. The process can take many months, and in some cases, years. Don’t give up.  Let us help you with your appeal and increase your chances of winning.

We’re experienced in handling all types of disability claims and have helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get the disability benefits they need. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges.

How Do They Decide If I’m Totally Disabled Or Partially Disabled In Houston, TX?

If you’re unable to work due to a disability, “hurry up and wait” is probably a term you’ve heard at least once. Determining disability can be confusing. Are you completely disabled, or only partly disabled? There are a number of questions to answer before you receive an answer.

How Do They Decide If I'm Totally Disabled Or Partially Disabled In Houston, TX?

Qualifying For Disability

In order to receive Social Security disability, you must have worked long enough and recent enough to earn work credits, up to four per year. Once you’ve earned $5,290, you’ve earned the four towards your total of credits.
Social Security only pays for total disability, not partial. You are considered disabled if:

• You cannot do the same work you did before
• You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
• Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or will result in death

How Disabled Are You?

This question is answered by Social Security’s five-step process that determines how much work you can do, as well as if and when you can be expected to return to work. There are a number of things that are considered the process.
Social Security will ask about your education and work experience. They will also ask about your current job—how did you do it? Can you still do some of it? Can you adjust to doing a previous job, or change professions to perform a new vocation?

One way to determine your abilities is to review your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC.) With the help of their Listing Of Impairments, SS will determine what abilities you have in spite of the conditions of your disability (standing, sitting, interacting, taking directions, etc.)

The determining questions asked involve:

• If you are currently working, and if you earn more than $1,180 per month
• If your condition severely limits your basic work abilities for more than 12 months (lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering)
• If your condition is found in the List Of Medical Conditions that are severe enough to prevent you from doing “substantial gainful activity”
• If your medical condition or impairment prevents you from doing the work you did previously
• If you can do any other type of work. Your age, education, medical condition, experience, transferable skills, and other factors are taken into consideration

One determining factor is whether or not you can do “light or sedentary work.” If you are under age 50 and can do light, sedentary work, you will not be considered “disabled.” However, if you are over the age of 55 with an RFC of “light or sedentary work” and don’t have transferable skills, you will likely be granted disability under the medical-vocational allowance. However, if you can do light work, the SSA will assume that you can learn and perform a new job or vocation.

Need Help With A Disability Claim?

If you’re assembling your application, you may be overwhelmed. There are numerous forms to fill out, doctor visits and conversations to handle correctly. One wrong item can sink your claim.

Let us help. We’re experienced in handling all types of disability claims and have helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get the disability benefits they need. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges.

How Often Do I Have To Prove That I’m Disabled To Receive Benefits In Houston, TX?

Getting a determination of disability isn’t the end of your journey. Once you’re declared disabled, you’ll be subject to periodic reviews, depending on your condition. But reviews are part of the process and part of continuing to receive disability payments.

How Often Do I Have To Prove That I'm Disabled To Receive Benefits In Houston, TX?

What Type Of Disability Do You Have?

When you’re approved for disability, your caseworker will set dates for future disability reviews. Generally, these reviews are every three to seven years. However, it also depends on the severity of your disability.

There are three categories of disability conditions:

·         Medical Improvement Expected—if your disability is one that you’ll recover from, you can expect to have a review within six to eighteen months of your original determination

·         Medical Improvement Possible—for conditions from which you are reasonably expected to improve (such as mental illness), reviews are generally conducted every three years

·         Medical Improvement Not Expected—if you’re rated for a condition for which a recovery is not expected, reviews are conducted about every seven years. These conditions can include:

  • Autism
  • Blindness
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Deafness
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Some Cancers
  • Cerebral palsy

Children who receive SSI will have a review every 3 years. Children approved for low birth weight will be reviewed around their first birthday, and all children will be reviewed at the age of 18 regardless of what type of disability they have.

Navigating the CDR

Social Security is required by law to perform periodic reviews of individuals who receive disability benefits. This includes gathering medical records for review. The CDR, or Continuing Disability Review, is the process for determining your continuing disability.

When the time comes, Social Security will send you one of two forms to fill out and return:

·         If the likelihood of your recovery is low, you will be sent Disability Update Report (SSA-455-OCR-SM, or “the short form”

·         If your recovery probability is higher, you’ll be sent Continuing Disability Review Report (SSA-454-BK, or “the long form.”

From there, they will examine your medical records, any treatments, improvements in your medical condition and any other determining factors, such as vocational training that allows you to begin doing “substantial gainful work.”

Without any improvements, and the inability to return to “substantial gainful work,” your disability payments will likely continue. However, if they are changed, you do have the right to appeal any decisions.

What Can Affect Disability Benefits

Any major change in your medical condition, income, resources, living arrangements and other circumstances (such as marriage or divorce) can change your eligibility. Disability is need-based with limits on assets and income, so periodic “re-determinations” are regularly conducted. If you’re found to exceed the “allowable limits,” your benefits will be suspended or terminated.

Scheduled For A Review? We Can Help

Regular reviews for disability cases are common, they occur every three to five years, and don’t always mean your benefits will end. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges.

If I’m Partially Disabled In Houston, TX, Do I Have To Accept Any Job I’m Able To Do To Collect Benefits?

You may have a sense of relief when you finally get your long-term disability benefits. But now that the initial trial is over, there is still the matter of complying with the policy’s rules. One of those rules may be working to keep your benefits.

Disability insurance is intended to protect you from financial risk if you become disabled or sick to the point where you are unable to work. The policy itself contains the definition of “disability”, and whether you qualify depends on what your policy terms as “disabled.” You will have to be “disabled enough” according to the policy’s definition in order to receive benefits. But everything comes down to the type of LTD policy you have.

If I'm Partially Disabled In Houston, TX, Do I Have To Accept Any Job I’m Able To Do To Collect Benefits?

Own Occupation Vs. Any Occupation

There are two basic types of LTD policies:

  • Own Occupation, in which you receive benefits when you are no longer able to work in your current vocation (more expensive)
  • Any Occupation, where you are able to work in a different occupation, but can no longer work in your current vocation (less expensive)

For instance, if you are a firefighter, and are injured on the job, you can no longer work in that occupation. Under an “own occupation” policy, you would receive benefits because you were totally disabled and could no longer perform “material and substantial duties” for that job. It would not matter that you could have a second career that was related to your work as a firefighter.

However, under the “any occupation” policy, the same firefighter who was injured on the job may be able to perform “material and substantial duties” for another occupation, i.e., a “desk job,” and will not be considered “disabled.” Only if the firefighter was unable to work in any occupation would the individual be considered “disabled” enough for the policy. “Any occupation” work may also mean workplace accommodations, which can also be used to deny benefits.

Most courts hold to the standard that if an individual is capable of any kind of work, even part-time, the individual is not truly disabled, and can be gainfully employed in any occupation, not just their own. This means that you would not meet the standard of disability.

Unfortunately, there are no standards for income disparity. This means that if you were working in a profession that paid $100,000 per year before your disability, you might still be able to work at a job that paid $15,000 or less, and therefore not be considered disabled. Under an “any occupation” policy, you would be required to work any job you could get, regardless of the salary.

Many LTD group policies provide benefits under the “own occupation” clause for the first two years of disability. After that, the benefits are under an “any occupation” clause.

Contact Houston’s Premier Disability Law Firm

Not many attorneys understand disability filings and appeals, but we specialize in it. With over 4,000 successful cases, we focus on helping disabled people receive the benefits they need. We’ve handled multiple situations that are similar to yours, and have the experience to help you through the process for a successful outcome.  The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and legal action to help you get the disability benefits you need. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

What Are My Options If My Disability Insurance Policy Denies My Claim In Houston, TX?

After paying your premiums for many years, now you need to use your disability insurance. You’ve done what you needed to do. Saw your doctor, got testing and treatments, filled out all the forms, and did everything they asked. But your claim was still denied. Now what?

What Are My Options If My Disability Insurance Policy Denies My Claim In Houston, TX?

Denial Is Not Final

The denial letter you receive is not the end of your claim, only an obstacle. You have options and can appeal the denial. Review your policy’s documents to understand what your next steps are.

A claim denial can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Inadequate or incomplete medical records
  • Written opinions from your treating physicians (this can be added during an appeal)
  • Incomplete medical testing and/or treatments

Your application should contain as much favorable information as possible for a positive decision. Adding as much as you can in the claim application ensures that if during an appeal, no additional evidence can be added, you have more than enough evidence to begin with.

If your insurer has wrongfully denied you benefits based on an individual disability policy, you (or your family) may be able to recover lost benefits, wages, pain and suffering and other, similar damages.

Bad Faith

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying it out. Disability insurers use a number of notorious tactics they use to prevent the payment of a claim, including:

  • Policy termination without notice
  • Long delays in their review process
  • Mis-classifying injuries in order to deny a claim
  • Hiding benefits from policyholders
  • Excessive requests for documentation
  • Complicated forms with badly defined terms
  • Delaying your claim
  • Changing due dates

The idea is that you will, after the first denial, simply give up your claim and leave them alone, or at least settle for less than you thought you would receive.

Options

If you’ve received a denial letter after applying for the first time, you are entitled to an appeal. This should be described in your denial letter. Pay attention to any dates or time period mentioned in the letter, because if you miss them, your appeal will be dismissed.

You have the right to ask for any and all documentation and expert advice that was used to decide your claim, without charge. You’ll be able to determine what information might have been missed, and hiring an experienced disability law attorney can give you the best chance of winning on appeal. Working with an attorney who understands the application and appeals processes will make sure that your application and any appeals will be completed, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.

It’s never too early to contact a disability attorney for help. Whether you’ve just become disabled and are wondering about your options, have been denied benefits, are appealing, or just don’t have the stamina to deal with an insurer while you take care of yourself, contact a disability law attorney to help you stand a better chance of winning.

Let Herren Law Increase Your Chances Of A Win

If you’ve become disabled and unable to work, the last thing you need is to worry about how to pay your bills and keep your household going. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You don’t owe a fee until we win your case.

Can You Get Long Term Disability for Migraines in Houston, TX?

If you’re one of the 28 million Americans who suffer with migraines, you know the signs when you’re getting one. Lethargy, increases in pain and the so-called “auras” are sure indicators that it’s about to happen. You may have stressors or triggers that bring on a migraine (like a smell or bright light) that tell you it’s coming. Once that happens, you know you’re down for the count until it passes.

Can You Get Long Term Disability for Migraines in Houston, TX?

You may have relatives, friends or coworkers who don’t offer support. You may even hear the comment, “but you don’t LOOK sick.”  You know you’re in pain, even if they don’t. Medications have varying degrees of effectiveness; some don’t help at all. And if you go to work anyway, instead of staying home, you know your quality of work will suffer until it passes. Meantime, you manage the best you can.

What Is A Migraine?

A migraine is a headache and condition that can seriously impact your quality of life. According to Migraine.com, migraines are the 7th leading cause of disability worldwide. Common symptoms include:

  • Light and/or sound sensitivity
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Blurred vision or other visual disruptions
  • Nausea
  • An “aura”—visual disturbances that includes blind spots, flashing lights, zig-zagging lines, and/or “seeing stars”

There may be other accompanying symptoms, such as fatigue and/or lethargy. Migraine episodes typically last 4 hours to 72 hours. These symptoms can also make work, social events and other everyday activities difficult or impossible to engage in.

Proving The Disability

Getting disability for migraine conditions can be difficult, even though one in four households are likely to have someone who suffers with it. As a neurological condition that’s not visible or diagnosed by a regular blood test, filing for long-term disability can be more difficult.

Note that “self-reporting” your condition may severely limit your benefits, or see them declined Migraines aren’t obvious or detectible through conventional medical testing. Supplying sufficient evidence to prove your inability to work is essential, so you’ll need to use other means of reporting to support your claim. Insurance companies want objective evidence for your diagnosis. A series of documentation will be required to successfully defend your claim, including:

·         Your own journal: record everything related to your condition truthfully and thoroughly—pain, frequency, intensity, severity, treatment, and your level of difficulty. Include dates, times, duration, and other relevant details, i.e., hospital visits, treatments given, side effects of medicines, etc. Your physician may include a review of your notes in your patient record, making it part of any claim evidence.

·         Work with your doctor: you’ll need your doctor’s support for your claim, so you’ll need to follow his or her instructions, including taking prescribed medications. If you’re unable to comply with your physician’s instructions (i.e., side effects of medication) make sure to inform him or her of these difficulties. Their records should indicate that you are doing your best to follow their instructions.

·         Other documentation to support your disability claim: this should include days missed from work, test results taken to rule out any other conditions, any treatments or medications you tried, their effectiveness, and any side effects

·         Testimony from family/friends supporting your activities that are limited by the headaches

·         Your doctor’s notes about your migraines (intensity, frequency, severity, etc.), and if these headaches are compounded by other illnesses or injuries.

·         Records of any hospital visits (including ER) related to your migraines

·         If you’re a veteran, medical evidence verifying the service-related connection, such as an incident that occurred during service time, or that it’s related to another service-related condition.

Migraines As A Catalyst

As painful as migraines are, they can also be a catalyst for additional conditions, such as fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, additional pain as well as other conditions.  If you also experience the “aura” symptoms, you may also be at increased risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Houston’s Attorney For Long-Term Disability Help

Filling for LTD can be a chore under the best of circumstances. With a condition like migraines, it’s more complicated, and of course, can be more difficult. But an attorney experienced in disability filings and appeals can help you gather the necessary information needed to file and increase your chances for a successful outcome.

Over 4,000 Houstonians have received the LTD benefits they need, and we can help you too. The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and help you through the process so you can concentrate on getting better. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

What Kind Of Disability Benefits Can You Expect In Houston, TX?

If you’re applying for disability for the first time, you may be wondering what to expect after your application is approved and you’re successful. Of course, every case is different, and we can’t give specific legal advice here. But if you’re getting ready to apply for disability benefits, we can offer a general idea of what you might be able to receive.

What Kind Of Disability Benefits Can You Expect In Houston, TX?

Two Types Of Disability

Disability comes in two versions: SSDI and SSI. While they’re both commonly called “Social Security,” they’re slightly different, but use the same means for determining disability.

  • Supplemental Security Income—for those who have never worked, and/or have limited income. SSI is need-based, and is not related to work history. To apply, you must have less than $2,000 in assets of any kind (cash, stocks, bonds, life insurance, etc.) as an individual, or $3,000 as a couple.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance—for those who have worked and earned enough “work credits,” this program is paid into through payroll taxes (visible on your paycheck stub and W-2.) SSDI pays you or certain members of your family if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes through regular payroll deductions. You’ll also need to be “medically eligible,” that is, have a long term severe and total disability that keeps you from doing “substantial gainful activity.”

It’s also possible to receive both SSDI and SSI at the same time, depending on your situation. The current maximum federal benefit rate is $750. Should your SSDI fall below that, SSI could make up the difference, depending on what other incomes you may have. However, if you are living with someone, and they are providing food and/or shelter without charge, these “in kind” benefits can be subtracted from your monthly benefit checks.

Texas Disability Benefits

Once you’ve applied for either SSI or SSDI, your claim file is sent to the Texas’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency, part of the state’s Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services (DARS). DDS claim examiners will review your file, including medical information, and decide whether you meet Social Security’s disability definition. If your claim is denied, you can request a DDS reconsideration.

If you’re eligible for SSI in Texas, you are automatically eligible for Medicare, and should be automatically enrolled. If you’re not automatically enrolled, you should contact your local Social Security to ask about it. You may also be eligible for SNAP benefits (also known as “food stamps.”) These depend on where you live and what your monthly income is.

For disability recipients in who receive Medicare-paid institutional care, Texas adds $60 for those with “countable income” of less than $60 per month. Additionally, as a resident in institutional care, you would only be able to keep $30 of your federal SSI payments.

While Texas doesn’t award additional disability benefits, the state offers additional resources and programs for individuals who are on disability. You can find some Texas disability resources here.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is also available to help with applying for SSI, SSDI and SNAP benefits, as well as independent living services. You can call 211 from anywhere in Texas, or go to Your Texas Benefits website to find a local office.

Assistance is available in the City of Houston through The Houston Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities. You can contact them by calling 832-394-0814, or email at mopdmail@houstontx.gov.

Waiting Periods

SSDI has a five-month waiting period to begin benefits. Even if your disability is approved on the first try, you won’t be receiving checks until at least the fifth completed month after you become disabled. However, it’s more likely that approval will take six months to a year. Once your payments start, you’ll also receive a “backpay” lump sum for the months you were eligible but weren’t paid.

Your Houston LTD Disability Attorney

Most attorneys aren’t familiar with the intricacies of disability filings, but we are. With over 4,000 successful cases, we focus on helping disabled people receive the benefits they need. We’ve handled multiple situations that are similar to yours. We have the experience to help you through the process for a successful outcome.  The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, any necessary appeals and help you get the disability benefits you need so you can live your life. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.