A little over 1 million people live in the state of Nebraska. Out of these residents, approximately 3.7 percent receive a monthly disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA). With each New Year, thousands of Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants will submit new disability claims to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, nearly 70 percent of these claims will be denied during the initial stage of the application process. These denied applicants then must to undergo the extensive and often frustrating disability appeals process in order to obtain the benefits they may be entitled to. In the first step of appeals, called the Request for Reconsideration, more than 80 percent of Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants will once again be denied disability benefits. This leads to the need for many applicants to appear before an administrative law judge in order to obtain the disability benefits they need.
Luckily, the majority of Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants who obtain a disability hearing are awarded benefits at this stage of the appeal process. Nearly two-thirds of disability hearings are decided in the favor of the disability applicant. Unfortunately, it can take anywhere from 321 to 630 days for a Nebraska Social Security Disability applicant to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge. It then takes another two to three months to find out whether or not the judge hearing your disability case decided in your favor. This means that the majority of Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants will have to wait more than two years from the date of their initial application for disability benefits before seeing their first benefit check from the SSA.
The main reason it takes so long for disability applicants to obtain a hearing in front of an administrative law judge is the large backlog of cases being handled by the offices in charge of scheduling these hearings. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the agency that manages the Social Security Disability hearings for disability applicants. The area of Nebraska that you live in will determine which ODAR office handles your disability case. The ODAR offices that schedule the disability hearings for Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants are as follows:
- Omaha, Nebraska
- Topeka, Kansas
The ODAR office located in Omaha is responsible for managing the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Lincoln, Omaha and Norfolk. It takes this office an average of 630 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The ODAR office located in Topeka, Kansas is responsible for managing the disability hearings for the Nebraska Social Security field offices in Beatrice, Grand Island and North Platte. It takes this office an average of nine months to schedule a disability hearing for Kansas Social Security Disability applicants.
Hiring a Nebraska Social Security Disability Attorney
No one enjoys the idea of having to waiting nearly two years before being approved for disability payments from the SSA – especially when you desperately need these benefits in order to make ends meet. For this reason, many Nebraska Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any possible way to avoid the long and frustrating disability appeal process. Obtaining the services of a qualified Nebraska Social Security Disability lawyer may be the answer.
When you choose to work with a Nebraska Social Security Disability attorney, the legal professional you hire will review your disability claim with you and will help you properly prepare your disability application. Your Nebraska Social Security Disability lawyer will also help you gather the medical records that will be necessary to prove your disability to the SSA. If, for some reason, your initial claim for disability benefits is denied, your attorney will work with you to increase your chances of filing a successful disability appeal.
If your application for Social Security disability benefits is denied during the initial application stage, you and your lawyer will likely need to prepare for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Your lawyer will be able to advise you as to what you can expect at this hearing and how you should answer the questions that may be asked by the administrative law judge. While it is possible to represent yourself during this proceeding, your chances of receiving a favorable decision as a result of your hearing are statistically higher with proper legal counsel.
If your application for disability benefits has been denied, you should speak with a Nebraska Social Security Disability attorney as soon as possible. You only have 60 days from the date you receive your notice of denial to appeal the SSA's decision to deny your disability benefits.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Nebraska Social Security Disability attorney, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.