If you are blind, disabled, or have a serious medical condition that keeps you from working, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security income (SSI). Unlike Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), SSI payments are based only on income and level of disability; a work history is not necessary.

Unfortunately, the SSI application process takes time. The average wait for a hearing in Nebraska is about 13 months.

What do you do for those 13 months?  Many disabled applicants find themselves living with relatives or friends in order to make ends meet. Others end up homeless. But, some seriously disabled applicants qualify for presumptive disability payments.

Presumptive Disability

Presumptive disability payments are temporary benefits that are available for applicants with certain disabilities. Payments are available for up to six months while the Social Security Administration processes the applicant’s SSI claim.  

In order to qualify, an applicant must meet presumptive disability criteria, including income and resource guidelines to qualify for SSI:

  • Total blindness
  • Total deafness
  • Down syndrome
  • Severe intellectual disability in an applicant age seven or older
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Muscular dystrophy with difficulty speaking, walking, or using hands or arms
  • Core muscular atrophy with difficulty speaking, walking, or using hands or arms
  • Cerebral palsy with difficulty speaking, walking, or using hands or arms
  • Amputation of two limbs (two arms, two legs, or a leg and an arm) or of one leg at the hip
  • A spinal cord injury that causes inability to walk without walker or other assistive device
  • End-stage kidney disease requiring chronic dialysis
  • Difficulty walking or using a hand or arm three months after a stroke
  • Any longstanding condition that results confinement to bed and required use of a wheelchair, walker, or crutches
  • Terminal illness in hospice patient with six months or less to live
  • Low birth weight in a newborn

Presumptive disability SSI payments may be available for conditions not on the list.

Monthly presumptive disability SSI payments are granted for up to six months. Benefits automatically end after six months or when the SSA reaches a final decision about the applicant’s claim. If the claim is denied, the applicant does not have to repay the Social Security Administration.

Applying for Presumptive Disability

The fastest way to apply for presumptive disability benefits is to file your application at your local SSA office. The SSA field representative may be able to make a presumptive disability determination at the time of application, although he may need proof of your condition. In other cases eligibility for presumptive disability benefits is determined by the claims examiner.

We Can Help

Do you have questions about benefits or the SSI application process in Nebraska? Request a free copy of our booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.  To discuss your own case with an Omaha Social Security lawyer and learn how we can help you, contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska