Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Nebraska
The rate of obesity in Nebraska is steadily growing. In 2000 only 2 out of 10 people were reported obese but in 2014 this number rose to 3 out of 10. While the state ranks 20th on the State of Obesity list, another major health concern is excessive drinking. About 37% of those on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list include people with disabilities related to musculoskeletal health and nervous system disorders. These conditions are often associated with being overweight and/or excessive drinking. About 36% of the beneficiaries are those with disabilities that stem from mental disorders.
Federal programs like the SSDI can provide regular benefits for those who suffer from a severe disability that prevents them from working or engaging in substantial gainful activity for at least one year. Other conditions of eligibility include:
- Meeting a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book or having a condition that is comparable to a listing.
- Having earned enough work credits in the Social Security system.
In Nebraska about 36% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Nebraska
About 10.9% of residents in Nebraska suffer from a disability. While not all qualify for SSDI benefits, those whose medical conditions are an exact match to a Blue Book listing have an extremely good chance of getting approved at the initial application level. For terminal cases, the SSA will expedite the claims process so that you start receiving benefits as quickly as possible.
You can be awarded SSDI benefits by meeting an exact listing in the Blue Book or through a medical vocational allowance, which is how the vast majority of people will be approved for benefits.
To qualify for a medical vocational allowance you will need to prove that your medical condition is comparable to a listing in the Blue Book, that it prevents you from working for at least year and during that time you are not able to engage in gainful employment. It is very important to provide the SSA with a detailed report of your work records of the last 15 years including the names and contact numbers of your employers, what your duties involved and the duration of your employment. The SSA will review your work history along with your medical records to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) which is an assessment of your physical and mental capabilities. You may also be requested to undergo further diagnostics that would help the examiner make a fair determination on your case. When you do not meet an exact condition in the Blue Book, but have a disability that is equally debilitating, you will receive SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
The entire process can take 90 to 120 days depending on the backlogs in the Social Security system. Delays often happen when claimants have not provided complete or accurate information on their application forms. It is helpful to know as much as you can about the SSDI claims process to make sure you have provided all the information that is needed to process your claim. If you need help, Disability United offers professional guidance to assist you with the paperwork.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
Since the SSDI is a federal program, every state follows the same procedure for a claim. It starts with applying for SSDI online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. The state of Nebraska has 6 Social Security offices. While the SSA receives your application, it is transferred to a state agency usually called the Disability Determination Services (DDS), where it is assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner. The disability examiner is the sole decision maker and follows a set protocol for making a determination. He will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have provided and review your work history. He may request you to undergo further tests and/or consult with medical and vocational experts.
Only 36.4% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Nebraska. The majority will need to go through the appeals process where the odds of getting a claim approved are much higher. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This process is identical to the initial application process with the same protocol being used by another disability examiner. Unless you have more recent medical evidence to show that your condition has downgraded, it is very unlikely that your claim will be approved at this stage. In Nebraska, the average rate of approval is 11.2%. However, this stage is just a stepping stone to the next step where a higher percentage of claims are approved.
- The Court Hearing: Your case moves from the DDS to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) where an Administrative Law Judge will review your case. While the criteria for approval remains the same, the judge is open to receiving the testimony of your treatment physician(s) and other medical and vocational evidence that demonstrate you meet the SSDI qualification criteria. The average rate of approval at this stage is 47.7%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. It reviews the validity of your appeal and if they find evidence has been overlooked, they may reverse the decision of the ALJ or send it to another ALJ for a fresh hearing.
- Federal Review: This final resort for appeal is not used by many. Most claimants limit appeals to the first and second level, but if you have a strong case against the SSA and feel your case was unfairly treated you may resort to a Federal Review.
Appeals must be filed with the SSA within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. Hiring the help of an advocate will be to your advantage during the appeals process. Advocates, specialized in the SSDI claims process, will know why your claim was denied in the first place and can help you prepare a case with all the medical and vocational evidence that is needed to show you meet the qualification criteria.
Find out whether you can qualify to receive SSDI benefits. Fill out our free disability evaluation form today.
Most people with disabilities make the mistake of waiting until they are all out of resources to make a claim. Don’t make the same mistake. If you know right now that your disability could last a year or more, fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Nebraska
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Nebraska State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Home and Community Services: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with disabilities who need assistance for daily living in their homes or apartments.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person or a young child are given priority.
- SNAP Benefits: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.