We help many constituents who encounter problems with Social Security benefits and eligibility. If you have tried to resolve a problem with the Social Security Administration and have run into problems, we might be able to help. Although we cannot order an agency to decide a matter in your favor, we can ensure that your case is treated fairly and expeditiously. Once you have contacted my office regarding your case, you might be asked to fill out a privacy release form and send it to:

The Honorable Joe Barton
6001 West I-20, Suite 2002
Arlington, Texas 76017-2811


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How do I apply for disability benefits?
A: To apply for benefits, visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website at www.ssa.gov or you may call 1-800-772-1213. They also have a TTY phone connection at 1-800-325-0778. You can download/request forms to apply for benefits or to appeal a denial in a current case as well as get answers to many questions you may have.

In order for you to qualify for disability benefits, you must be unable to perform work at the substantial gainful activity level. Your condition must be severe and have lasted or be expected to last twelve months or result in death. To qualify for insured benefits (Title II), you must have worked and paid into the system and have enough quarters of earnings/credits within a certain time frame. If you do not have enough qualifying credits to receive Title II benefits, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI. The disability criteria for each of these programs are the same, however, the financial or technical eligibility differs. There are other factors that may be considered under each of these programs and you may ask questions specific to your case by calling the toll free number listed here. If you are awarded benefits, the benefits will not begin until the sixth full month after the date of your accepted onset of disability. You may apply for both programs at the same time or concurrently. During the five months waiting period, you may qualify to receive the SSI benefits if you are medically and technically eligible and are a concurrent applicant. You may qualify for Medicare benefits twenty-four months after you are eligible to receive disability benefits.

Because of the large volume of applications, it can take a long period of time to receive a final decision in your claim for benefits. Should your initial application be denied, there are several levels of appeal. You will have sixty days to request your appeal from the receipt of the denial notice at each level.

If you have special circumstances, such as a pending foreclosure, eviction, dire medical need, or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may request that your claim be expedited. You or your medical provider will need to include documentation of these circumstances to the Social Security Administration when making the request. Your case will receive special handling and move faster in the process under these circumstances.

Any decision by the agency that is less than favorable to you can be appealed. If you have more specific questions feel free to contact my staff at the district office nearest you.  


Q: How do I apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
A: To apply for benefits or to ask questions, visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website at www.ssa.gov or you may call 1-800-772-1213. They also have a TTY phone connection at 1-800-325-0778..

Supplemental Security Income is an income assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration for people who are elderly (65 or older), blind, or disabled (physical or mental problem expected to last at least one year or result in death) who have few assets and who earn less than a specified amount of money (These amounts change periodically. For the most current numbers, click here). 


Q: How do I apply for retirement benefits?
A: To apply for benefits or to get more information about the SSA retirement program, call 1-800-772-1213. They have a TTY phone connection as well at 1-800-325-0778.

In order to be eligible for retirement benefits, you have to have enough "credits" (10 years of work--you earn one credit per certain amount of money that you make) and have paid into Social Security.

In the past, all individuals were eligible for SSA retirement benefits at age 65.  However, beginning in 2003, the age at which individuals qualify for full retirement benefits began to increase gradually from 65 to 67.  Despite these changes, you can still apply early at age 62. If you apply early, the benefits you receive will be reduced, but you will receive them for a longer period of time.

The amount you receive depends on how much you earned when you were working.

You can also delay applying for Social Security retirement. If you do so, your extra income may increase your benefit amount, and you will receive a credit. To find out more about credit you may receive, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. 

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