Have Questions About the Disability Claims Process for Social Security or Veterans Benefits? Check Out Our FAQs

Dealing with the disability application or appeals process always comes with plenty of questions. Whether your questions are about Social Security or VA Disability, here are some of the questions we hear the most at our Omaha law firm.

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  • I’m getting cochlear implants in a few months as an attempt to improve profound deafness resulting from a head injury a few years back. Should I wait to apply for Omaha SSDI benefits until after the procedure is complete?

    No. In fact, you should consider speaking with an Omaha disability attorney as soon as possible to discuss what is involved in applying for Social Security disability benefits immediately.

    That’s because the SSA allows disability benefits for 12 full months to any individual who receives cochlear implants.

    Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic medical devices. Through their use, individuals with certain types of hearing impairments are able to receive enough auditory information to understand speech, environmental sounds, and even music. Successful implantation procedures have assisted some people with profound hearing loss to re-enter the workforce.

    This method of treatment isn’t used for individuals with partial or short-term hearing loss. That means that qualifying for an implant means you meet the Social Security standard for hearing loss.

    Cochlear implants aren’t always successful. Even when they are, it can sometimes take years to start seeing real benefits from the procedure. A year after you receive implants, the Social Security Administration requires you to take a Hearing In Noise test. If your word recognition score isn’t over 60%, you will still qualify for benefit.

    For most applicants, the disability claim process is overwhelming and confusing. Improve your odds of success by working with an Omaha disability lawyer from the start. Call Cuddigan Law at (402) 933-5405 today.

    Also order your copy of our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

  • Will getting a note from my doctor for my application for SSDI disability benefits in Bellevue improve my chances of getting approved?

    While the basic idea of having your personal physician write a letter explaining the nature of your disability to the Social Security Administration is sound, the reality of most doctors’ letters is that they are not written in a way that will ultimately be helpful to your case.

    Most doctors’ letters fall into three categories:

    • Too short and vague Often doctors will write letters that are brief and lacking in the necessary detail.
    • Don’t make the connection Without guidance, a lot of doctors won’t explicitly connect your physical or mental capacity issues with limitations in performing workplace tasks.
    • Absent It is not remotely uncommon for doctors to forget—or even ignore—requests for letters to the SSA.

    However, your instinct about including documentation directly from your treating physician is exactly right! It just needs to be in a properly structured format.

    A Medical Source Statement, such as the RFC form, is an objective and carefully documented assessment of your condition, explaining the nature of your condition and how it impacts your capacity to reliably perform functions necessary to maintaining employment. The statement is combined with hard medical evidence—test results, imaging, and more—to further advance your claim.

    It’s possible that your doctor may require a fee to complete an RFC form, but the support provided by this key piece of evidence is usually worth it. We almost always advance this fee on behalf of our clients.

    If you’ve been struggling to put together a persuasive case for Bellevue disability benefits, don’t wait another day. Call the empathetic professionals at Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405. Also ask for a copy of our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

  • I’m filing for SSDI disability benefits in Omaha. Am I required by law to hire a disability attorney for this?

    No. There is no legal obligation for you to retain legal representation when filing an initial application—or at any point in the appeals process, even if you take your claim all the way up to a hearing before federal district court.

    However, there are really only a few cases where people wouldn’t benefit from the assistance of experienced legal representation in their disability case. People diagnosed with a severe disability that exactly meets the Social Security standard for their disability type often will have a claim approved on the first try.

    Most people, unfortunately, do not fit into this category. Nearly 70% of people who file for disability benefits will have their application denied.

    There are many important tasks an attorney can assist you with or complete on your behalf. These include:

    • Filling out paperwork correctly
    • Meeting all necessary filing deadlines
    • Tracking your claim and keeping you updated on its status
    • Helping you gather appropriate information from your doctors
    • Building a persuasive case for your disability
    • Utilizing experience and understanding of the Social Security system to help your claim move smoothly through the decision process

    Are you uncertain on how to best build your application for an Omaha disability benefits claim? Talk to the dedicated professionals at Cuddigan Law. For a free evaluation, call 402-933-5405 today. Also check out our booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case, available free.

  • Are my disability benefits taxable?

    If you are only receiving SSI benefits, it is very unlikely that your benefits are taxable. When disability benefits are taxable, it is usually an SSDI recipient. A single individual with adjusted gross income between $25,000.00 and $34,000.00 may have up to 50% of their disability benefits taxed at their marginal tax rate. If the single individual's adjusted gross income is more than $34,000.00, up to 85% of their disability benefits may be taxed at their marginal tax rate. A married person filing a joint return with adjusted gross income between $32,000.00 and $44,000.00 may have up to 50% of their disability benefits taxed at their marginal tax rate. If the married person's adjusted gross income is more than $44,000.00, up to 85% of their disability benefits may be taxed at their marginal tax rate.

    DISCLAIMER-This information should only be taken as starting point for how your disability benefits may be taxed. You should consult with a certified public accountant for more specific advice on how your disability benefit may be taxed.

  • My adult son has an IQ test score of 76 and was denied Social Security benefits for intellectual disorder. He has never been able to hold a job. Is he eligible for benefits?

    Yes. Though your son’s IQ score disqualifies him from Social Security for intellectual disorder, he may be able eligible for benefits due to the hardship created by a combination of issues. These would include lower than average intelligence, also known as borderline intellectual functioning, and other physical or mental health problems.

    Even in situations when no one of these mental functional capacity limitations constitutes a disability according to Social Security’s standards, it is possible demonstrate that together, finding and keeping a job is an extraordinary hardship for the applicant.

    Before you submit an application for your son, you’ll want to do the following:

    • Gather any special education records.
    • Diagnostic and treatment information regarding his anxiety and behavior issues.
    • Collect statements from people who’ve instructed, trained, or worked with your son.
    • Gather job and education-related reviews and assessments, highlighting any documentation of disciplinary action or reason for discharge from former employers.
    • Start working with a Lincoln disability attorney while you are still preparing the initial application for your son.

    Don’t wait! Call 402-933-5405 or (402) 261-4005 for a free case evaluation from Cuddigan Law. Also, ask for our complimentary booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case. We meet clients by appointment at 3800 Normal Blvd, Ste. 201, Lincoln, NE 68506

  • What Is a Work History Report?

    As a part of the initial application process, Social Security sends out a number of forms.One of these forms is a work history form, which describes your last 15 years of work. This form should be completed with care and attention to your past job duties according to Omaha SSDI attorney. It is important to describe accurately how much you lifted and how long you performed each physical aspect of your job.This form is reviewed by the Disability Determination Service (DDS) in the evaluation of your initial claim and again at the Hearing Level by the vocational expert.. It is used to determine how you performed how you performed your past work.Your description of your past work is important. We feel that it is so important, that our staff assists our clients in the completion of the form. Incomplete or inaccurate work history forms could hurt your case. We can you complete your work history as when we help you apply for disability. For a free evaluation of you claim, contact us at (402) 933-5405 or email us at [email protected]


  • I’m helping my 27-year-old sister apply for disability benefits in Lincoln because of her intellectual disability. However, she can’t understand most of the questions and is only able to pay attention for a few minutes at a time. What can I do?

    Document. Your sister is clearly unable to apply for disability benefits in Lincoln independently, so the very situation you are presenting is a key piece of evidence for her case.

    Anyone who is unable to understand and coherently respond to basic questions about their health and mental capacity would clearly be unable to function in the workplace without much more supervision than most employers can readily provide.

    If possible, keep track of the following:

    • The number of times you’ve attempted to fill out paperwork with your sister,
    • Her apparent level of comprehension for application questions,
    • What responses she gave to application questions, if any,
    • How long she was able to focus on the task,
    • Any behavioral issues she demonstrated during the process.

    With this information, you can write a detailed statement to the SSA explaining that your sister’s impairments are so severe she was unable to apply for disability benefits on her own. Statements from family members are most effective as support for primary evidence, typically in the form of hard medical evidence.

    Hiring a Lincoln Disability lawyer for your sister’s case before she applies is in your best interests. Intellectual disability claims can be difficult to win even when you are experienced with the Social Security system. Working with an attorney could help her claim be approved in a much shorter time frame—significantly limiting mistakes and unnecessary delays.

    Call 402-933-5405 or 402 261-4005 today for a free evaluation.We meet with clients by appointment at 3800 Normal Blvd.,Ste 201, Lincoln, NE 68506.  Be sure to request our complimentary booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

  • Will the Social Security Administration’s decision to change ‘mental retardation’ to ‘intellectual disability’ change any aspect of the claims process or standard for people who are applying for benefits with disabilities of this type?

    Absolutely not.

    The Social Security Administration finalized its decision to strike the term ‘mental retardation’ from their Listing of Impairments earlier this summer. Starting September 1st, all references to the term will be replaced with the updated term ‘intellectual disability.’

    Our culture has seen an important shift the last several years that have left many individuals feeling that the old verbiage is offensive. The negative connotations carried by the ‘mental retardation’ verbiage also foster misunderstandings about the realities of the condition and the hardship it creates.

    Social Security will not change any aspect of how the claims for an individual with disabilities of this nature qualify for disability benefits.

    There will be no alterations made to:

    • The establishing standards,
    • Availability of benefits, or
    • The way claims are processed.

    Only the language used to describe the condition has been updated. Intellectual disability will be handled in the same way that mental retardation was, before the change.

    If you or a loved one may qualify for Social Security disability benefits in Nebraska due to intellectual disability, speak with an experienced Lincoln disability attorney at Cuddigan Law as soon as you are able. For a no-cost case evaluation, call 402-933-5405 or 402 261-4005 today. We meet with clients by appointment at 3800 Normal Blvd., Ste 201, Lincoln, NE 68506. Additionally, be sure to get your copy of our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

  • What Tests are Necessary to Establish Blindness?

    It is important to remember that most applicants don't meet a listing and you may still qualify even if you don't meet the listing according to Omaha Social Security Lawyer. However, in order to establish you meet listing 2.02, 2.03  and 2.04 Social Security usually requires an eye exam report that shows:

    • For central visual acuity, Social Security uses the Snellen test. Vision is usually reported as what you can see from 20 feet. If your vision is 20/20 that means that you can see what normal people are able to see at 20 feet. If your vision is 20/ 80 that means you are only able to see at 20 feet what people with normal vision would be able to see a 80 feet. If your vision is expressed as Count fingers(CF),Hand Motion (HM) or Light perception only (LPO) then Social Security acknowledges that your vision is worse than 20/200. Social Security does not use pinhole testing because it is not accurate enough.
    • For visual fields testing, Social Security uses an approved automatic testing machine. The purpose of the test is to determine if you have a loss outside of your central vision such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy The methodology of these testing machines is approved by SSA.and the machine prints out a report with your test results.
    • For your visual efficiency, this a calculation of a combination of your visual acuity efficiency and your visual field efficiency expressed as a percentage. Listing 2.04 has a chart that aids in this calculation.

    The report should include the cause of your vision problem. For more information about vision problems and appealing your denial based on eye problems contact Omaha Social Security Lawyer. For a free copy of our pamphlet Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Case  or  an evaluation of your claim call (402) 933-5405 or email [email protected] .




  • Why would hiring a disability attorney for my Sarpy County SSDI claim appeal hearing make the Administrative Law Judge more likely to approve my case?

    Every disability benefits claim in Omaha is different. You should always keep in mind that working with legal representation won’t guarantee approval.

    However, results don’t lie. If you are considering appealing a claim denial, you need to know that working with an attorney significantly improves your odds of obtaining approval at a much early point in the process.

    How working with an attorney can help your SSI or SSDI claim appeal hearing:

    • By closely evaluating your medical records, working with you to fill in sketchy or out of date information and getting key data to the Administrative Law Judge or Social Security in time for your hearing.
    • By working with your treating physician to get important documentation for your case in the most effective form possible.
    • By preparing you for the hearing. Without the guidance of an attorney, you are more likely to omit important information or phrase things in a potentially sabotaging way.
    • By knowing the most effective questions to ask at the hearing. Besides you, the ALJ will speak with medical and vocational experts at the hearing
    • By having prior experience with the Administrative Law Judges in your area. An experienced Sarpy County disability attorney will have usually worked with the judge assigned to your case before, and will have sense of their style.

    To learn more about what the team at Cuddigan Law can do for you, call us at 402-933-5405 today. Also request our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.