Important: We updated this article in June 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. Nearly two million people live in Nebraska, and 18% of the population is currently aged 50-64. That means almost 1 in 5 are the prime age for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits! However, the most recent Social Security Administration report shows just 3% received SSDI benefits in December 2022. Another 2% got federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments each month. If health problems force you to stop working for at least 12 months, then you may qualify for Nebraska disability.
Which Federal Government Programs Provide Monthly Nebraska Disability Benefits?
You may qualify for monthly cash payments from one of two different federal disability programs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages both programs and uses the same medical exams for all people who apply. However, that’s where the similarities end.
Both these programs offer Nebraska disability benefits to those who qualify:
Not sure where to start? You can apply for both benefit programs at the same time using just one form. Simply check the box next to each program’s name on your application, and the SSA screens you for both.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Applying, Qualifying & Average Monthly Payments
Before you start the Nebraska disability application process, it’s helpful to know how these programs work. You don’t want to waste time filing a claim if you cannot meet the program’s key eligibility requirements. Read the questions below to ensure the SSA won’t automatically reject your claim before you apply. On average, Nebraska disability judges approved 47% of SSDI claims in January 2023.
1. Who’s Eligible to Apply for SSDI?
Below are the SSDI program’s basic eligibility requirements to qualify for Nebraska disability benefits:
- Did you pay Social Security taxes while working 5 in the last 10 years full time? This is the first step towards SSDI payments. Here’s why: SSDI is a federal disability insurance program that covers workers who pay each month’s premium to maintain coverage. Your FICA or Social Security payroll taxes keep that policy active. Once you stop working for 60 months, then that coverage automatically lapses.
- Does your doctor expect your health to keep you from working at least one year? If not, do you have a terminal illness? The SSDI program only pays benefits for long-term or permanent disabilities. In other words, SSDI won’t cover things like pregnancy leave or surgery. If your symptoms improve in less than 12 months, then you won’t qualify for SSDI.
- Have you seen a doctor to treat your condition within the last 90 days? If not, you’ll need to attend a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam after you apply. The SSA requires this exam to confirm your condition truly makes you unable to work. In other words, saying you’re disabled isn’t enough to qualify for Nebraska disability benefits. You must prove it!
- Are you at least 18, but younger than 67 and not currently receiving any Social Security benefits? SSDI gives Americans too young for Social Security retirement a way to tap into those benefits. Once you turn 67, Nebraska disability benefits automatically convert into regular Social Security.
Don’t meet all these requirements? The SSI program’s Nebraska disability benefits may still be available to you.
2. How Long Does That First SSDI Payment Take to Arrive?
Six months from your SSDI application date is likely the soonest you’ll get your first Nebraska disability payment. Federal law requires a mandatory five-month waiting period before the SSDI program can make any payments. However, if your condition started before you filed your application, that time counts toward your required wait! Unfortunately, most people wait more than a year, at minimum, for their first payment. Having a lawyer file your claim nearly triples your approval chances. Plus, an attorney cannot charge you anything for help until after the SSA awards you benefits. As of December 2022, SSDI applications for Nebraska disability benefits take 542 days to process, on average.
If you decide to apply on your own without a lawyer, you’ll probably have to appeal. That’s because the SSA currently rejects 4 in every 5 first-time Nebraska disability applicants. If that happens, you have 60 days to appeal your denial. Reconsideration is your first step in the appeals process. Only 2% of claimants receive Nebraska disability benefits on their first appeal. If denied a second time, you can always appeal again. The second appeal means pleading your case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). However, you’ll have to wait 13-17 months for your court date to arrive. A court award means you’ll wait 2+ years from your SSDI application date for your first Nebraska disability payment.
3. How Much SSDI Money Can Nebraska Disability Claimants Expect Each Month?
In 2023, the maximum Nebraska disability payment the SSDI program can pay anyone is $3,627 per month. To qualify for that amount, you’ll need to earn a six-figure salary for at least 10 years before you apply. Nationwide, disabled workers currently get an average $1,483 monthly SSDI payment. Once approved, SSDI may also provide an annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase announced each October.
4. Are the SSDI Program’s Nebraska Disability Payments Permanent?
Nebraska disability benefits from the federal SSDI program last for 3, 5, or 7 years. Then, you’ll need to confirm you still can’t work due to health problems. Whenever this happens, you’ll get a letter from the SSA in your mailbox. Then, just fill the form out and return it back to the SSA before your mailing deadline. This will carry on until you turn 67. Once that birthday passes, your Nebraska disability payments automatically convert into regular Social Security. Your benefit amount won’t change, and you don’t need to file any more paperwork. But if the SSA decides you’re no longer disabled, your SSDI payments stop immediately.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Applying, Qualifying & Average Monthly Payments
If you can’t meet all SSDI requirements, you may still qualify for Nebraska disability through the federal SSI program. SSI pays blind, disabled, or people at least 65 years old cash benefits every month. To qualify for the SSI program’s Nebraska disability benefits, you need very low income and almost no financial resources. Below, we’ll explain the SSI program’s eligibility requirements, monthly pay amounts and more. On average, the SSI program approved about 60% of all claims filed for Nebraska disability benefits in December 2022.
1. SSI Applicants Must Be Blind, Disabled or Age 65+ to Qualify for Benefits
If you file your SSI claim after your 65th birthday, your age alone may qualify you for monthly benefits. Younger applicants must currently be blind or disabled in order to qualify for Nebraska disability payments. This means submitting convincing medical evidence that supports your SSI claim for Nebraska disability benefits. Often, Nebraska disability applicants must appear for a consultative exam that confirms they’re unable to work for health reasons.
2. You Need Very Low Income and Few Assets to Get Your SSI Claim Approved
The SSI program screens every Nebraska disability applicant for monthly income and asset limit rules. First, your monthly income must fall below $1,470 from all possible sources. This means things like your spouse’s wages, child support, or alimony will count towards that income limit. You must also have less than $2,000 in your bank account. The SSI program looks for other things you can easily sell for cash, including jewelry, stocks, bonds, etc. SSI calls these items “countable assets,” and if you own too much stuff, you cannot qualify for Nebraska disability benefits. Things the SSA won’t consider as countable assets may include:
- Your home and the lot it’s built on (homeowners only, not renters)
- One vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, boat) for household transportation
- Wedding ring, furniture, clothing & other daily living needs (appliances, bedding, towels)
Married couples filing SSI claims need less than $3,000 in assets and $1,470 in total monthly income to qualify.
3. SSI Pays No More Than $914 Per Person, or $1,371 Per Couple
While that doesn’t sound like much, every little bit counts when you’re unable to work. Luckily, any years with a COLA increase provide monthly raises for people on SSI. If you’re getting payments each month through the SSI program, you must still pass regular status updates. In other words, every 3-7 years the SSI program must confirm you still cannot work. These SSI disability updates continue until you reach your 65th birthday. Once that birthday passes, you can keep your monthly SSI payments provided you meet the program’s financial requirements.
Do Any Programs Pay Temporary or Short-Term Nebraska Disability Benefits?
The only way to get short-term or temporary disability is through your own private insurance policy or your employer. If you don’t currently own either policy, it’s too late to apply after you become disabled.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
You’re nearly 3x more likely to get benefits if a Nebraska disability lawyer files your application. A local Social Security attorney can give you a free phone consultation before you decide to move forward. Federal law forbids any Nebraska disability lawyer from charging you unless your claim is successful. That’s because all SSD lawyers work on contingency. If no federal program awards you benefits, then you owe the disability lawyer $0. And if your case wins, then you only pay one small fee.
Want free expert claim help without leaving your home? Click the button below now to start your free online benefits quiz and see if you may qualify:
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.