Colorado Disability Benefits: How to Qualify

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in April 2024 to make sure all info below is accurate. Colorado has majestic views and skiing resorts. It was home to the country’s first rodeo and is the only state that ever turned down hosting the Olympics. It’s also one of the Four Corners, meaning if you stand at a particular point, you’re also standing in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Colorado has a current population of 5,914,181 people. Among those, approximately 23% (about 1 in 4) have disabilities. However, just 2.4% get Colorado disability benefits.

Who May Qualify for Colorado Disability Benefits?

Colorado disability benefits are available to people who cannot work because of health problems. There are two types of Colorado disability benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

You must qualify for one of these Colorado disability programs before you can receive any payments. That said, the Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both SSI and SSDI programs and handles their monthly payments.

Colorado Disability Benefits Program #1: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Do I Qualify For SSI Benefits?

Of the two Colorado disability benefits programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is harder to qualify for. You must be blind, disabled, or at least 65 to qualify for SSI benefits. However, the program has no work history requirement.

SSI has an income limit eligibility requirement that the other program does not. In other words, this benefit is only for those with very little income and almost no savings or financial resources.

If you are 65 or older, then you automatically qualify medically for SSI. If you are younger than age 65, you must submit medical evidence proving you cannot work at all for at least one year.

The financial element of SSI qualification says you must earn no more than $1,550 each month. If you don’t work, the Social Security Administration reviews your entire household income. In addition to pay stubs from working adults, you must disclose any income sources listed below when you apply for SSI:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Other federal or state benefits (i.e., TANF, food stamps, workers’ comp, etc.)
  • Dividends, interest, or trust fund disbursements
  • Your spouse or roommates’ income (if applicable)

You must also show your bank account balance. SSI eligibility rules state you can have no more than $2,000 cash on hand or in financial resources. If you own things you can sell for cash, that potential income may also count against you.

Some assets, however, are off limits. Your home and the land it’s on do not count. One vehicle, a wedding ring, clothing, and other possessions necessary for daily life (such as kitchen appliances and furniture) are also exempt.

SSI benefits are a fixed amount of $943 per month. Married couples can receive no more than $1415.

Can Minor Children or Family Members Get SSI?

Minor children with disabilities may also be eligible for SSI benefits. However, the program has no dependent benefit available for family members.

What About Health Insurance?

If the SSA awards you SSI, you become eligible for Medicaid the same month your payments begin.

Can Minor Children Get Disability Benefits?

Colorado Disability Benefits Program #2: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Do I Qualify For SSDI Benefits?

SSDI helps people unable to work tap into their Social Security benefits early. It allows working adults to get their full retirement payment if they become disabled before 67.

SSDI pays Colorado disability benefits to anyone who meets the following eligibility requirements:

1. Worked at least five years during the last decade in jobs where you paid Social Security taxes. Anyone without this required work history is not eligible for SSDI benefits.

2. Submit medical documents showing you cannot work for at least 12 months due to disability. Include a statement from your doctor that your health issues will not improve within a year. Alternatively, you must have a diagnosis for a condition expected to result in your death.

3. Show regular doctor visits and any medical records from the past 12 months. If you cannot afford to see a doctor, a Colorado disability lawyer may help cover the cost (if you qualify for legal assistance).

Otherwise, a Colorado Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will schedule a required medical exam. This may also delay your first payment.

4. If you currently receive Social Security benefits, then you cannot get SSDI. This is true whether you draw early retirement, regular Social Security, or SSI payments each month.

How Long Does It Take To Get Colorado SSDI Payments?

It can take a long time. Federal law requires a five month waiting period before payments begin.

The average claim takes 3-5 months to process. If denied, you have 60 days to appeal. The SSA calls this step “reconsideration.”

Studies show a Colorado disability attorney can triple your odds of approval within 6 months.

How Much Can I Get from SSDI in Colorado?

Unlike SSI, SSDI payments equal a percentage of your former average monthly work income. The national average monthly SSDI amount is now $1,537.

SSDI payments don’t last forever. Once you turn 67, these Colorado disability benefits automatically switch to Social Security retirement, but your amount stays the same.

Can Minor Children or Family Members Get SSDI?

The SSA does offer dependent benefit payments to eligible family members of disabled workers. However, minor children without a disabled parent on SSDI are not eligible for this benefit because they have no work history.

What About Health Insurance?

You can receive Medicare coverage 24 months after you receive your first SSDI payment.

How to Apply for Disability Assistance

You can apply online, in person at your local Social Security office, or over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213. Agents are available to help you apply by phone and answer questions 8am-7pm Monday through Friday. To increase your chances of success on your first try, get a Colorado disability lawyer to help you file for free.

How to Get Free Expert Claim Help That Triples Your Success Odds for Getting Colorado Disability Benefits

Working with a Colorado disability attorney increases your odds of approval within months, not years.  You only pay if your claim succeeds; otherwise, you owe $0. That’s because all Social Security attorneys work on contingency. There is no risk to consult an attorney about your chances for benefit payments.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz now:

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Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.