Your Complete Guide to Missouri Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in July 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. More than 1.2 million people — almost 1 in 5 people living in Missouri — are aged 50-64. That age range is when you’re most likely to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits! But in 2022, just 189,232 people got those payments each month. That’s about 3% of the state’s population. Another 2% received Missouri disability from the Supplemental Security Income program. If your health issues force you to miss 12 months at work, you should apply for Missouri disability benefits. We’ll explain how to apply, eligibility rules and typical payment amounts for both programs below.

You Have Two Ways to Get Missouri Disability Benefits

We’ll explain the two different federal programs that pay monthly Missouri disability benefits to qualified applicants below. They use same the medical exam to decide whether your health issues make working enough to support yourself impossible. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of both federal programs, which include:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Luckily, you can apply for Missouri disability benefits through both programs using the same claim form. Just check one box on your application, and the SSA screens you for SSI and SSDI!

SSDI: How to Apply, Qualify & Average Payment Amounts

SSDI specifically covers working Americans aged 18-66. Congress created SSDI to help people too young for Social Security retirement whose health problems force them to stop working. The FICA taxes your employer takes out of every paycheck go towards your SSDI coverage. (FICA taxes are also known as Social Security taxes because they’re the same thing.) Learn what it takes to get Missouri disability benefits from the SSDI program below.

1. What Are The SSDI Program’s Eligibility Rules for Missouri Disability Applicants?

If you answer “yes” to every question below, file your SSDI claim today:

  • Did you work 5 in the last 10 years while paying Social Security taxes? That’s how you earn enough Social Security work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. But if you stop working for 60 months, your SSDI coverage automatically ends.
  • Is your health problem the reason why you cannot work for at least one year? SSDI rules say your condition(s) must last at least 12 months or result in death. If you improve sooner, you won’t meet the SSDI program’s requirements for Missouri disability payments.
  • Has a doctor treated your disabling condition within the last year? Routine doctor visits put you a step closer to getting benefits. Otherwise, a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam must confirm you cannot work for medical reasons. A Missouri disability lawyer can pay for your doctor visit and full medical records if you can’t afford them yourself.
  • Are you currently at least 18, but younger than 67 and not drawing any Social Security benefits? The SSDI program only pays Missouri disability to those not yet drawing Social Security. At 67, Missouri disability checks automatically convert into regular Social Security. This article explains why you can’t get regular Social Security and disability at the same time.

If you said “no” at least once, Missouri disability benefits from the SSI program may still be available to you.

2. How Long Does That First SSDI Payment Take?

Six months after your SSDI application date is the soonest you’ll get your first Missouri disability check. The SSA takes 3-5 months to process each SSDI application. Federal law enforces a mandatory five-month waiting period before anyone gets SSDI payments. If you’re out of work that long before you apply, it won’t affect your claim. Having a Missouri disability lawyer file your SSDI application makes you nearly 3x more likely to get benefits. Plus, all Missouri disability attorneys work on contingency. That means you won’t pay any legal fees unless the SSA awards you benefits.

Important: SSDI claims for Missouri disability benefits currently take 542 days to process, on average, in 2023.

You’ll possibly wait years for your first Missouri disability check if you apply without a lawyer. If denied, you have 60 days to appeal that decision in writing. The first appeal step is reconsideration, and it takes about 100 days total to finish. Only 2% of SSDI applicants get benefits during this step. To appeal again, you must schedule a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The SSDI program approves about 11% of claims at this stage. However, you’ll wait at least 13 months for an appeals court date in Springfield. St. Louis appeals hearing court dates take 11 months to arrive in 2023.

3. How Much SSDI Money Do Most Missouri Disability Claimants Get?

The highest payment you can get from the SSDI program is $3,627 per month. To get that much, you must earn at least $147,000 every year for a decade before you apply for benefits. The average monthly SSDI payment for disabled workers across the U.S. is $1,483 in 2023. Your payment amount should equal about 40% of your average monthly paycheck earned over a 35-year work history. An annual Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) increase gives everyone a monthly raise in certain years.

4. Are Monthly SSDI Payments Permanent?

An approved SSDI claim won’t give you permanent benefits. Instead, the SSA must confirm your health hasn’t improved once every 3-7 years. The agency requires you to pass a disability update check to keep your monthly payments. This will continue up until your 67th birthday. After that, SSDI automatically converts into regular Social Security. Your pay amount won’t change, and there’s no paperwork to complete. But if the SSA decides you can work again before you turn 67, then they’ll stop your SSDI payments immediately.

SSI: How to Apply, Qualify & Average Payment Amounts

The second program that provides Missouri disability benefits is called SSI. It’s designed to help blind or disabled people and those aged 65 or older make ends meet. The federal government’s general tax fund pays for SSI benefits. So, SSI doesn’t depend on the Social Security trust fund’s money. However, SSI does screen Missouri disability applicants to ensure they have very low income and few resources. Below, we’ll explain SSI eligibility rules and pay amounts.

1. SSI Must Confirm You’re Disabled, Blind or at Least 65 Years Old Before Approval

If you wait until you’re at least 65 to apply for SSI, go ahead and skip this section. Otherwise, you’ll need to pass a consultative exam to qualify for Missouri disability benefits. Anyone aged 65 and up need only worry about meeting the income and asset limits for SSI.

2. SSI Requires That All Missouri Disability Applicants Have Very Low Income and Almost No Resources to Qualify

You need less than $1,470 in monthly income and few resources to qualify for the SSI program’s Missouri disability benefits. “Monthly income” means money you get from any source, not just wages from working. Child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc. all count towards your monthly income. Next, the SSI program looks at your bank account balance. You need less than $2,000 to qualify for SSI. But other things you own and can easily sell for cash will also count against you, too. This includes any jewelry, stocks, bonds, lottery tickets, etc. Things the SSI program won’t count towards your $2,000 asset limit include:

  • Your house and the land it sits on (if you own it)
  • One vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, boat) for household transportation
  • Wedding ring, furniture, clothing or daily living items (appliances, bedding, towels)

Couples filing SSI claims for Missouri disability have slightly different income and asset limit amounts. You both need less than $3,000 in assets and $1,470 in monthly income total in order to qualify for SSI.

3. $914 per Person or $1,371 per Couple Is the Most SSI Money Available Each Month

The SSI program’s monthly Missouri disability payments are also subject to an annual COLA. Any year the SSA approves a COLA increase, they’ll announce that SSI payment change in October. Once your SSI payments begin, you still need to pass a disability update every 3-7 years. If you can’t pass, then your payments will stop. Once you turn 65, though, you never have to pass another update. As long as you meet SSI’s income limits, your monthly checks keep coming in.

Do Any Temporary or Short-Term Disability Benefits Exist?

No government programs pay short-term or temporary Missouri disability benefits. If you don’t already own a private insurance policy or one through your employer, don’t worry! There are other ways to get money to live on if you’re unable to work due to health problems. Other options may include:

  1. Workers’ compensation. Every Missouri employer with five or more employees must carry workers’ comp insurance. If your job injury or illness stops you from working, you may qualify for lost wage benefits. Get a free 2-minute evaluation today.
  2. Car accident injury damages. Injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Insurance companies only pay about 54% of costs for car wreck injuries, on average! (According to National Highway and Transportation Safety Association’s most recent study data.) Get a free online case review in less than two minutes to see if you may qualify.

How to Triple Your Chances for Benefit Approval

A Missouri disability lawyer nearly triples your chances for winning benefits. All disability lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for expert claim help now. A Social Security attorney can also review your claim paperwork for errors before you file or appeal. Federal law says they can’t charge you anything unless your case wins. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay one small fee.

Want free expert claim help without leaving your house? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

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, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, 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.