Oklahoma Disability Benefits: What You Must Know

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in January 2023 with the most current and correct info available. If health problems force 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 below.

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 groups, you are not alone:

  • 17% of the adults in Oklahoma have problems moving around and walking
  • 9% have problems with independent living
  • 15% have issues with thinking, remembering, and understanding
  • 10% have hearing damage or loss
  • 7% of the adults in Oklahoma have vision loss or are blind
  • 5% have health issues that mean they need help with basic self-care tasks

The CDC also reports that Oklahoma disability health care costs are about $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 benefits. DDS does this on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA) using their federal rules and guidelines. Here are some quick facts about SSDI:

  1. SSDI is coverage that you’ve already earned. If you paid enough Social Security payroll taxes, the SSDI program replaces some of your income if you’re unable to work for health reasons.
  2. Social Security 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.
  3. Disability can happen to anyone at any age. One in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age.
  4. The average monthly SSDI benefit is $1,483 in 2023. This allows people who can no longer work meet their basic needs.
  5. Social Security works to prevent and convict people who commit fraud.  The result is a fraud incidence rate that is less than 1%.
  6. Social Security helps people return to work without losing benefits. Learn more about the Ticket to Work program.

All applications for benefits must go 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 use same the medical rules to approve or deny claims. These requirements are designed to find out if your condition truly prevents you from working at least 12 months. The SSA manages payments and screens claims 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. That way, the SSA screens you for both Oklahoma disability payments at once!

How to Get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits in Oklahoma

The SSA pays disability benefits to people who pay into Social Security through payroll taxes. SSDI also makes payments to certain family members who qualify, like spouses and children.

TIP: Only 1 in 5 first-time SSDI claimants get approved for disability the first time. Further, just 35% of those who apply eventually get benefits. This is why it’s smart to get a lawyer to help you file. All disability lawyers charge $0 up front and only receive payment if your case wins.

TIP: Make sure to gather copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your SSDI application. You need strong medical evidence that proves you cannot work for 12 months 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 in jobs where you paid FICA taxes. Some people who cannot qualify for SSDI include service workers (bartenders, waiters); union members (teachers, police) and federal or state employees. In addition, if you stopped working more than five years ago, you also won’t qualify for SSDI. That’s because once you stop paying Social Security taxes for 60 months, your coverage ends.
  • 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 within a year, your claim will be denied.
  • You are at least 18 years old, but younger than 66. 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 too old to get SSDI. That is because SSDI turns into regular Social Security at your full retirement age.

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 Oklahoma disability benefits. The max monthly SSDI payment for 2023 is $3,627. However most people get closer to $1,483. The SSA determines your pay amount using your highest average job income 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 to Social Security retirement payments.

The 411 on Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

SSI is a second option for Oklahoma disability benefits. This program provides payments to individuals, including children, 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 qualify. SSI monthly payments max out at $914 per person, or $1,371 per couple.

NOTE: SSI has the stricter eligibility requirements of the two programs.

SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as those for SSDI. However, you must have very low income — and almost no assets — to qualify. Your total household income cannot be more than $1,470 each month. You must also 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.

An Oklahoma disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to win benefits. All Oklahoma disability lawyers work on contingency. That means you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance now. A local Social Security attorney charges $0 if you don’t win benefits. And if you win, then you’ll only pay one small fee.

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Laura Schaefer is the author ofThe Teashop Girls,The Secret Ingredient, andLittler 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.