Ongoing, regular medical care is crucial to establishing the presence of a severe “medically determinable impairment” needed to secure social security disability benefits in Texas and throughout the nation. Failure to secure and sustain medical treatment for the disabling condition is one of the big mistakes I routinely see being made in my social security practice in Dallas Texas.
I realize that calling the absence of medical care for the unemployed and disabled as the individual’s “mistake” can seem a little harsh.The vast majority of disabled Texans without medical treatment that I encounter are uninsured because they have lost employer-provided medical insurance, and could not afford to exercise their COBRA rights to continued coverage.
Yet the reality is that non-treatment will torpedo most social security disability claims. Even the “Hammer” and “Strong Arm” personal injury attorneys who have decided in the last few years to also be social security disability lawyers know to ask in preliminary screening about medical coverage and care.
Texas remains one of the least generous states for medical care assistance, but all Texas counties are required to provide indigent health care services. In general, household income cannot exceed 21% of the Federal Poverity Guideline (FPG), but counties are allowed to provide benefits to households with income of up to 50% above the FPG.
Then there are large metropolitan areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio that maintain county hospitals with their own indigent care programs that are much more available to Texans without medical insurance. Dallas county residences, for example, can enroll in Parkland Plus at Parkland Memorial Hospital. As you can see, Texas indigent medical healthcare is very county sensitive Consult the directory at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/cihcp/county_locator.shtm for information about your Texas county of residence.
The Afforable Care Act (so-called ObamaCare) opens up a new path to medical coverage for social security disability applicants without medical coverage. Unfortunately the flawed roll out of the healthcare.gov website, and the fact that Texas is the reddest of the red state have made many Texans reluctant to pursue medical coverage under ObamaCare. One need only spend the evening on Fox News to be convinced that by applying for ObamaCare on healthcare.gov you contribute to a vast government conspiracy to destroy freedom. We are hearing from some of our social worker contacts that many in North Texas are securing very afforable medical insurance under ObamaCare. Up until now the best path to coverage is to use the phone contact/application number on healthcare.gov rather than applying online.The online application must have improved greatly, however, because even Fox News has slowed its criticism of the site.
Texas social security Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) routinely ask Dallas social security disability applicants that have no medical insurance about their efforts to secure medical care through Parkland Hospital. Is it just a matter of time before ALJs ask uninsured claimants whether they have tried to secure coverage under ObamaCare? I think so.