If health problems have forced you to stop working for at least one year, help is available to you and your family. It is important to learn you may qualify for Oklahoma disability benefit payments. Learn how to apply, review the eligibility rules and find out about average monthly payment amounts for these programs by reading this round-up.
Oklahoma is home to more than 3.6 million people. Of these, more than 1 million (about 34 percent) are over age 50. According to the CDC, 35% of Oklahoma adults, or 1,046,594 people, have disabilities as of 2019. If you fall into one of the following categories, you are not alone:
- 17% of the adults in Oklahoma have mobility disabilities
- 9% have problems with independent living
- 15% have issues with cognition
- 10% have hearing-related disabilities
- 7% of the adults in Oklahoma have vision-related disabilities
- 5% have a self-care functional disability type
The CDC also reports that Oklahoma disability health care costs are approximately $10.5 billion per year. This amounts to $13,946 per person with a disability!
Help Is Available to You in Oklahoma
The Disability Determination Services office makes a medical eligibility determination on applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the Social Security Administration (SSA) based on federal rules and regulations. Here are some quick facts about SSDI:
- SSDI is coverage that you’ve already earned. If you paid enough Social Security taxes through your lifetime earnings, the SSDI program replaces some of your income if you’re unable to work for health reasons.
- The Social Security Act has a strict definition of disability. This benefit is only available if you can’t work due to a serious medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.
- Disability can happen to anyone at any age. One in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age.
- The average monthly Social Security disability benefit is $1,280, as of April 2021. which allows disabled workers who can no longer work meet their basic needs.
- Social Security works to prevent and prosecute fraud. The result is a fraud incidence rate that is a fraction of one percent.
- Social Security helps people return to work without losing benefits. Learn more about the Ticket to Work program.
All applications for benefits must be submitted through the SSA office. The SSA defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity because of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.
Two Programs Offer Oklahoma Disability Benefits
The two different federal programs that pay monthly Oklahoma disability benefits to qualified claimants use same the medical criteria to establish your eligibility. These requirements are designed to find out if your condition truly prevents you from working at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages payments and screens applicants for two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You can use the same application to file for Oklahoma disability benefits through both programs. Just check one box on your claim form, and the SSA screens you for both Oklahoma disability payments at once!
How to Get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits in Oklahoma
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to individuals who are insured due to contributions to the Social Security trust fund through Social Security tax on their earnings. SSDI also makes payments to certain people with disabilities who are dependents of insured individuals.
TIP: Only 1 in 5 first-time SSDI claimants get approved for benefits the first time and just 35% of all SSDI applicants eventually get approved. This is why it’s smart to get a lawyer to help you file. All Social Security lawyers work on contingency and only receive payment after your claim’s approved.
TIP: Make sure to gather copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your SSDI application. You need convincing evidence that proves your condition stops you from working at least one year to qualify for SSDI.
Who Qualifies to Apply for SSDI?
Everyone who works isn’t automatically covered under the federal SSDI program. You are likely covered if:
- You worked five in the last 10 years full-time at a job that withholds FICA taxes from every paycheck. Some people not eligible for SSDI include service-industry workers (bartenders, waitstaff); union members (teachers, firefighters) and federal or state employees. In addition, if you stopped working more than five years ago, you also won’t qualify for SSDI because once you stop paying your premiums for 60 continuous months, your coverage automatically lapses.
- Your doctor says your condition will last for at least one year or result in your death. If your condition improves enough for you to start working again in less than 12 months, your claim will be denied.
- You are at least 18 years old, but younger than 64. If you’re too young and haven’t earned 40 work credits, you might not qualify. Also, if you’re already at or past your full retirement age, then you’re no longer eligible for SSDI because SSDI converts into regular Social Security payments.
It takes the SSA approximately 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim and has a required five-month waiting period before you can get any SSDI benefits. The maximum SSDI payment amount for 2022 is $3,345/month. The SSA determines your benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.
SSDI payments aren’t permanent. The SSA re-checks your disability status every 3, 5 or 7 years until you reach full retirement age. When you turn 66 or 67 (depending on your birth year), SSDI payments automatically switch into Social Security retirement payments.
The 411 on Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
SSI is a second option. This program provides for payments to individuals, including children under the age of 18, who have disabilities and limited income and resources. If you haven’t worked five in the last 10 years full-time or are 65 and older with few assets, you may be eligible. SSI payments max out at $841/month per person, or $1,261/month per couple.
NOTE: SSI has the stricter eligibility requirements of the two programs.
SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as those for SSDI, but you must have very low income — and almost no assets — to qualify. Your total household income cannot be more than $1,350 each month, and you must own less than $2,000 in financial assets ($3,000 for couples). There are some exceptions to the asset rule.
What About Temporary or Short-Term Oklahoma Disability Benefits?
At this time, no government programs pay short-term or temporary Oklahoma disability benefits.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
An Oklahoma disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to win benefits. All Oklahoma disability lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance up front. A qualified Social Security attorney charges $0 if you don’t win benefits. And if you win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.