As the federal agency that manages a program for retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also handles the administration of disability benefits. If you suffer from a debilitating injury that has kept you out of work for at least 12 consecutive months, you might qualify for financial assistance.
The key to receiving financial assistance primarily is to understand the process for filing a disability claim in Nebraska. If the SSA determines your claim lacks medical evidence and/or you have not missed enough time from work, then you can expect a Social Security disability denied claim.
How to File for Social Security Disability Benefits in Nebraska
Filing for disability benefits in Nebraska requires you to submit an accurate and 100 percent completed application. If the SSA discovers that your application lacks information and/or contains inaccurate statements, then the federal agency has the right to dismiss your disability claim.
The SSA refers to a medical guide called the Blue Book, which lists every qualifying medical condition and symptoms that make applicants eligible for financial assistance. This means you must submit convincing evidence in the form of medical documents that include the results of diagnostic tests and treatment programs.
When you apply for disability benefits in Nebraska, your claim goes to a state agency in Lincoln called Disability Determination Services (DDS) The DDS operates under the supervision of the Nebraska Department of Education’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department. A team of disability claim examiners reviews your claim to determine whether you meet the standards established for receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Nebraska has several field offices for processing claims. You submit a claim at the closest DDS office, which in turn sends your paperwork to the Omaha DDS.
Statistics for Disability Claims in Nebraska
In Nebraska as well as in every other state, the SSA denies more Social Security disability claims than the federal agency approves. However, with an approval rate of 41 percent, Nebraska has a higher average than what is established nationally.
Nebraskans that file an appeal for reconsideration receive an approval just 11 percent of the time. After attending a disability appeal hearing in Nebraska, you have a 50-50 chance of getting your disability claim approved by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The average amount of time it takes for an ALJ to hold an appeals hearing is 13 months, which is five fewer months than the national average. As of June 2021, a return to in-person hearings has taken place in Nebraska, although participating in an online video hearing is still a possibility.
How to Handle a Nebraska Disability Benefits Appeal
Filing a disability benefits claim in Nebraska is often just the first step of the process. With a majority of claims coming back denied, you should prepare for the possibility of having to file an appeal for reconsideration.
An appeal for reconsideration involves a team of medical examiners from the SSA. Although the team of medical examiners should not be the same team that reviewed your initial claim, the team follows the same Blue Book protocols that it followed the first time around.
This means to avoid getting denied disability in Nebraska, you must submit more persuasive medical evidence during the appeal for reconsideration. The SSA wants to review the results of additional diagnostic tests, as well as read a statement from your physician that describes your prognosis for at least a partial recovery.
You might have to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment, which consists of completing several tests that measure your mental and physical abilities. A doctor from the SSA conducts the RFC, but you can ask your physician to conduct the same assessment. The results from the RFC assessments conducted by the SSA are not as favorable as the RFC assessments conducted outside of the federal agency.
Get Help Filing a Disability Claim
There is too much at stake for you to represent yourself during the disability appeals process. Since an appeal for reconsideration in Nebraska has a little more than a 10 percent chance of getting approved, you might find yourself attending an ALJ hearing.
A Social Security lawyer can help you prepare for the possible questions asked by an ALG, as well as question witnesses that can verify how your disability has prevented you from working. Your attorney also may also ensure that you request an ALJ hearing before the deadline expires.
You have 60 days after receiving the claim denial letter from the SSA to request an ALJ hearing. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get in touch with a participating, independent attorney that subscribes to the website.