In 2011 alone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is expected to receive more than three million applications for Social Security Disability benefits. In the State of Texas, more than sixty percent of initial applications received by the Texas Social Security Disability offices will be denied if prior approval rates are any indication of the future. To make matters worse, more than 80 percent of initial appeals will be denied by the SSA as well. This means that the majority of Texas Social Security Disability applicants will have to wait for a hearing before an administrative law judge before they are able to receive the disability benefits they may be entitled to.
The disability hearing stage of the appeals process is the reason why it takes some Texas Social Security Disability applicants more than a year before they see their first benefit check from the SSA. Depending on where you live in the State of Texas, it can take anywhere from 253 to 454 days to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge. Once you have obtained your hearing and have had your day in court, you will have to wait another 45 to 90 days before finding out whether or not your disability hearing was successful and if the administrative law judge who presided over your case decided in your favor.
The SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the office responsible for managing Social Security Disability hearings. Where you live determines which Texas ODAR office will be handling your disability case and how long you will have to wait before your hearing is scheduled. It is important to understand that just because you live in the State of Texas that does not mean your ODAR office will be located in your state. Some areas of Texas are handled by ODAR offices in other areas of the country. The cities and towns in which the ODAR offices for Texas residents are located and the areas each office serves are as follows:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Downtown Dallas, Texas
- North Dallas, Texas
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Houston-Bissonnet, Texas
- Downtown Houston, Texas
- McAlester, Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Harlingen, TX
- San Antonio, Texas
- Shreveport, Louisiana
The Albuquerque, New Mexico ODAR office handles the Social Security Disability hearings for Texas residents living in the El Paso area. This office also serves the Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Gallup, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Rio Rancho, Roswell and Santa Fe field offices in New Mexico. It takes this office an average of 408 days to schedule a disability hearing before an administrative law judge.
The downtown Dallas, Texas ODAR office serves the Austin, Corsicana, Dallas-Fair Park, Dallas-Oak Cliff, Dallas-West, Georgetown, Lufkin, Mid-Cities, Temple and Waco Social Security field offices. It takes this office an average of 339 days to process a request for a Social Security Disability hearing.
The north Dallas, Texas ODAR office serves the Dallas-North, Denton, Greenville, Longview, McKinney, Palestine, Pleasant Grove, Sherman, Tyler and Waxahachie field offices in Texas as well as the Texarkana and Pine Bluff Social Security offices in Arkansas. The average processing time for this office is 310 days.
The Fort Worth ODAR office serves the Abilene, Amarillo, Big Spring, Brownwood, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Fort Worth - South, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Pampa, Plainview and San Angelo Social Security field offices. The average processing time for this office is 253 days.
The Houston-Bissonnet ODAR office serves the Angleton, Brenham, Bryan, Galveston, Houston-Northwest, Houston-Southwest, McAllen and Pasadena field offices. The average processing time for this office is 338 days.
The downtown Houston ODAR office serves the Beaumont, Conroe, Houston-Downtown, Houston-Northeast, Houston-Southeast and Port Arthur Social Security field offices. The average processing time for this office is 339 days.
The McAlester ODAR office in Oklahoma services the Mount Pleasant and Paris Social Security field offices in Texas as well as the Ada, Durant, Hugo, McAlester and Poteau field offices in Oklahoma. The average processing time for this office is 363 days.
The Oklahoma City ODAR office in Oklahoma services the Vernon and Wichita Falls Social Security field offices in Texas as well as the Ardmore, Chickasha, Clinton, Enid, Lawton, Moore, Oklahoma City and Shawnee offices in Oklahoma. The average processing time for this office is 371 days.
The Harlingen ODAR office services the Brownsville and Harlingen Social Security field offices. The average processing time for the Harlingen office is estimated to be approximately 350 days.
The San Antonio ODAR office services the Alice, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Kerrville, Laredo, San Antonio, San Marcos, Seguin and Victoria Social Security field offices. The average processing time for this office is 454 days.
The Shreveport ODAR office in Louisiana services the Marshall Social Security field office in Texas as well as the Forrest City Social Security field office in Arkansas and the Bastrop, Minden, Monroe, Ruston and Shreveport field offices in Louisiana. The average processing time for this office is 396 days.
Hiring a Texas Social Security Disability Attorney
Due to the extensive wait times required to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge, many Texas Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the lengthy disability appeal process. The services of a qualified Texas Social Security Disability lawyer may be the answer.
Statistics show that Texas disability applicants who hire a Texas disability attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who do not obtain proper legal representation. When working with a Texas Social Security Disability lawyer, the attorney you hire will help you gather all of the medical evidence needed to support your disability claim and will help you present the information in the best light possible to the SSA. If your initial application for disability benefits is denied, your Texas disability attorney can represent you through the disability appeal process.
If your initial application for disability benefits is denied, you will likely have to have your disability case heard by an administrative law judge if you hope to overturn the SSA's decision to deny your claim. While you can technically represent yourself at a disability hearing, statistics show that you will be more likely to obtain benefits as a result of this hearing if you are represented by a Texas Social Security Disability lawyer. The good news is that nearly two-thirds of these hearings are decided in the favor of the applicant, so while you may have to wait more than a year before you obtain your hearing date, the odds are in your favor that you will be awarded benefits as a result of this hearing if you work with a qualified disability attorney.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a Texas Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Texas Social Security Disability case.