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 was permanently disabled by a stroke. Fortunately, I have disability insurance, and I do not need Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) to make ends meet. Why should I apply for SSDI?

    Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides benefits to workers who are unable to work for a year or longer because of a serious disability. When you worked, you probably paid FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes. These taxes fund SSDI, Medicare, retirement, and survivor benefit programs. If you paid FICA taxes for five of the past ten years and become disabled before reaching retirement, you are eligible to apply for SSDI.

    SSDI provides a regular monthly payment. The amount you are paid will depend on how many years you worked and how much you earned during that time. However, regular income is not the only reason to apply for SSDI after a stroke:

    • Your insurance carrier may require you to apply: If you have long-term disability insurance, your insurer may require you to apply for SSDI before you are granted your benefits.
    • You can extend your COBRA benefits: SSDI recipients may extend their insurance coverage through COBRA for an additional 11 months.
    • You will receive Medicare benefits: You will be eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital benefits), Part B (medical benefits), and Part D (prescription drug benefits) after 24 months of receiving SSDI. You can also enroll in a variety of Medicare Advantage plans.
    • You can protect your retirement benefits: Your Social Security retirement income is based on your average earnings in the years before retirement. If you stop earning, the average drops. However, if you receive SSDI, your Social Security earnings records are frozen. Your retirement benefits are calculated based on your earnings before your disability, and your retirement benefit will not decrease.
    • Your dependents may receive benefits. If you receive SSDI, your minor children or other dependents under the age of 18 may be eligible for benefits.
    • You may qualify for work incentives: The Social Security Administration offers work incentives for SSDI recipients who are able to work part time (earn less than $1040 per month).

    Do you have questions about SSDI? Contact our Bellevue disability benefit lawyers for a free case evaluation. Call Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405

  • Can I receive disability benefits under my deceased spouse's Social Security number?

    Yes, but there are certains conditions you must meet to receive widow's benefits or widower's benefits. You must prove your disability started while you were age 50 to 59 and your disability must have started within seven years of the latest of the following dates:  
    •The month your spouse died; or
    •The last month you were entitled to mother's or father's benefits on your spouse's record; or
    •The month your previous entitlement to disabled widow or widower's benefits ended because your disability ended.

    Once you turn age 60, you can collect under your deceased spouse's Social Security number and you do not need to prove disability.These benefits are known as survivor benefits.

  • How long does it take for Social Secuirty to make a decision at reconsideration?

    In Nebraska it takes about  two months and in Iowa it takes about three months to receive a decision. A few cases take longer to decide. At reconsideration level over 88% of the claims are denied. Don't give up, appeal your denial.

  • How many cases are approved at reconsideration in Nebraska and Iowa?

    Reconsideration is the second level of the administrative process. This is still the medical record review process conducted by your state agency. In Nebraska and Iowa disability is decided favorably to the applicant in approximately 10 to 12% of the time. If you are denied at the reconsideration level don't give up. Appeal your denial, most benefits are awarded at the hearing level!

  • What can I do to help my claim for Nebraska Social Security disability benefits for anxiety?

    If you are considering applying for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits in Nebraska, the first thing you should do is visit your doctor. Make sure you have a diagnosis of your condition and a treatment plan. Follow the treatment plan.  If you don’t have medical documentation of your diagnosis and treatment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not consider your claim. You will be denied. If you suffer from anxiety disorder, you will need to have your condition diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional.

    In order to receive SSDI benefits for anxiety, you must have a diagnosis, a history of treatment for your condition, proof that your condition has lasted or will last 12 months or longer, and a listing of symptoms and the limitations those symptoms put on your ability to work. 

    You must also earn less than $1,040 a month. If you are able to hold a job, you are not eligible for SSDI.

    Once you are sure that you have the necessary medical diagnosis, visit the SSA disability website. You will find information about the application process for disability benefits and the many qualifying conditions. Information about anxiety disorders is included in listing 12.06. This information may be difficult to understand. You may want to print it out and take it to your next doctor visit.

    Unfortunately, only 20 to 30 percent of mental health applicants are approved for disability the first time they apply. If you need to appeal, it could take months or even a year to get a decision. Before you apply, we suggest that you talk to an experienced and reputable Nebraska disability lawyer. The attorney will be able to help you through the complicated SSA disability application process so you can get benefits more quickly. To schedule a free evaluation with an Omaha SSDI attorney, contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405.

  • How long does it take Social Security to make an intial decision on my claim for disability benefits in Nebraska or Iowa?

    It takes about three to four months for Social Security to make an initial decision. This decision is made by a state agency that contracts with Social Security to review the evidence and make decisions. This time can vary somewhat depending on the complexity of the claim and whether Social Security decides it has enough evidence to approve or deny the claim.If the disability examiner decides that SSA needs more evidence to make a decision they may schedule an examination by a doctor that they choose. This doctor or psychologist will be paid by Social Security and will write a report findings of their examination..

  • I am a veteran receiving Total Disability Individual Unemployabiltiy (TDIU), will I be found disabled by Social Security automatically ?

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Veterans Administration use different regulations to determine disability. Social Security regulations clearly state that it is not bound by the findings of another agency, however SSA is required by the courts to look at the medical evidence that support the ratings decision. So while SSA doesn’t have to find you disabled based on the VA ratings decision they are required to look at your medical records, to see if the medical evidence supports a finding of disability. The compensation and pension exams performed by the VA often include helpful medical examinations and tests. A favorable TDIU ratings decision doesn't always guarantee a favorable Social Security decision, you still must prove that you are unable to perform your past work or any other work.

    So if you veteran whose Social Security Disability benefits claim was denied, Our Omaha disability lawyers can help you  appeal your denial. To learn more, request a free copy of Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim, or contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 and ask for a free evaluation of your claim.

  • I get nervous every time I have to leave my apartment. I worry about all the things that can happen when I go outside, so I stay home. Is it possible to get Social Security disability benefits for an anxiety disorder?

    Yes, it is possible to get Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) for an anxiety disorder; however, not everyone with anxiety will meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) requirements for benefits.

    When you apply for SSDI for an anxiety disorder, the SSA will first consider whether your condition meets or equals listing 12.06 for Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. To qualify, you must satisfy the criteria in sections “A” and “B,” or “A” and “C”:

    1. Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1, 2, or 3:
      1. Anxiety disorder, characterized by three or more of the following;
        1. Restlessness
        2. Easily fatigued
        3. Difficulty concentrating
        4. Irritability
        5. Muscle tension
        6. Sleep disturbance
      2. Panic disorder or agoraphobia, characterized by one or both:
        1. Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences
        2. Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces)
      3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, characterized by one or both:
        1. Involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts
        2. Repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety


    1. Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:
      1. Understand, remember, or apply information
      2. Interact with others
      3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
      4. Adapt or manage oneself


    1. Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent”; that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
      1. Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder
      2. Marginal adjustment—that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life

    You must also be receiving treatment for your diagnosis. Treatment from a licensed psychologist or mental health provider is preferred over treatment by a general practitioner or family doctor.

    It is important to remember that not all anxiety disorders will meet the specific requirements of Social Security listing 12.06. If your condition is not equivalent to an existing listing, the SSA will need to assess whether your disability prevents you from performing any type of work, including any job you have held in the past. In fact, most cases do not meet a listing; however, this does not mean that you lose your case. You just have to prove you cannot perform any type of work, including unskilled work, for your application to be approved.

    This may sound overwhelming, but don’t give up. Our Omaha disability lawyers can help you get the evidence you need to help show that your anxiety disorder prevents you from working. To learn more, request a free copy of Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim, or contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 and ask for a free evaluation of your claim.

  • Can I receive disability benefits off my parent's account?

    It is possible to receive a benefit known as Disabled Adult Child benefits if you prove your disability started prior to age 22, your are unmarried, and your parent is deceased or your parent is receiving Social Security disability or retirement benefits. An individual under age 18 or 19 years of age and still attending secondary school, can receive survivor benefits if a parent is deceased and paid enough Social Security taxes.

  • How long is the wait for a SSDI hearing in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska?

    The wait, as of June, 2013, for a hearing after filing a request for hearing is appoximately 12 months. While this wait time is reduced from the 22 to 24 months of a few years ago, it is expected to increase due to effects of decreases in the Social Security Administration budget.