Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Nevada
Nevada ranks 38th on the list of America’s State Health Rankings. There is a high percentage of people uninsured in this state which means many people are not prepared when calamities strike such as a disability that puts you out of work for at least a year. Are you prepared?
If you are disabled and uninsured, you may still be able to receive regular disability benefits if you have paid into the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits. You may be able to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Apart from not being able to engage in any substantial gainful activity for a year because of your disability, you will need to meet certain conditions of eligibility. This includes 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 in the Blue Book.
In Nevada about 32% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level. The top two diagnostics on the SSDI beneficiary list are those with disabilities related to mental illness (31%) and those with diseases that stem from the musculoskeletal system (30%).
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Nevada
About 12.9% of residents in Nevada suffer from a disability. Only those who meet the SSDI criteria for eligibility can apply for benefits. Those who meet an exact listing need not worry if their claim will get approved. The SSA’s computer systems are able to filter such claimants and push them forward in the claims process for easy approval.
Maybe your medical condition does not meet an exact listing in the Blue Book and you are wondering how difficult it will be for your claim to be approved. Even if you don’t meet a listing, you can be approved for benefits through a medical vocational allowance. The SSA will determine how able you are in spite of your disability and whether your skills can be transferred to another job. Your medical and work history (of the past 15 years) will be reviewed and an evaluation of your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) will be conducted. RFC is an assessment of your physical and mental capabilities. A medical vocational allowance can be approved only if you cannot work at any job for at least a year.
The SSDI claims process can take 3 to 5 months, depending on the backlog in the Social Security system. Delays often happen due to claimants not filing accurate information or providing complete details such as the names of the treatment physician and treatment centers along with their contact details. It is helpful, therefore, to understand how the SSDI claims process works in order to prepare a case that is likely to end in your favor. You may contact Disability United for any assistance in filing a claim. Our experienced advocates can help you get your claim approved at the earliest possible stage.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
SSDI is a federal program and therefore the application process is the same in every state. It starts with filing an application online, by phone or in person at a Social Security office near you. In Nevada, there are 4 Social Security offices. While the SSA receives your application, it transfers it to a state agency called the Disability Determinations Services (DDS). A disability examiner will be assigned to your case and has been trained to be the sole decision maker. The disability examiner will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. He may require you to undergo further diagnostics to help evaluate whether your condition falls within the SSA grid. You may be called for an interview which may be conducted via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person.
Only 31.5% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Nevada. The majority will receive a denial notice but your journey does not end here. The chances of your claim getting approved are much higher in the appeals process which consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This stage is almost identical to the initial application process except another disability examiner will review your case. He will most likely agree with the decision of the first examiner unless the first examiner has made an obvious error. Most people who get approved at this stage are those whose conditions have downgraded and new medical evidence has been provided to support this. In Nevada, about 15 out of 100 cases are approved at this level.
- The Court Hearing: The chances of your claim being approved are the highest at this stage. This is because the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will determine the case acts independently from the previous disability examiners. You are allowed to present any evidence that would add weight to your case including the testimonies of your treatment physicians or vocational experts. The judge will also take your testimony into consideration. On average, 45.2% of claimants get approved for benefits at this stage.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will review your case to check whether the ALJ has made the right decision. If they find the decision was unfair, they may send your file to another ALJ for another hearing.
- Federal Review: The last and final stage of appeal is the federal court. Not many choose to go to this last stage because it is expensive and slow and the verdict is less likely to be in favor of the claimant.
Appeals must be made be filed with the SSA within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. Crossing this deadline may mean you have to start the claims process all over again. It is prudent to hire an advocate to represent you during the appeals process for the simple reason that advocates who specialize in SSDI claims matters know exactly what is needed to bolster your case before the ALJ. They have the experience and know what kind of evidence the judge is looking for to rule in your favor. Because so much relies on presenting a well-prepared case, you should not try to represent yourself. In fact, cases that are legally represented are known to have a higher rate of success.
Fill out our free disability evaluation form today to find out if you can qualify for SSDI benefits.
Since the claims process can take several months, we would advise you not to wait to apply. 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 Nevada
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Nevada State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services and more.
- 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 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.