Just over 750,000 people (or almost 18% of Oregon’s total population) are aged 50-64. After your 50th birthday, special rules make it easier to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits! Yet in 2020, just 2.4% of the state’s population (99,498 people) received Oregon disability payments through the federal SSDI program. Another 1.9% qualified for Oregon disability checks from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If you’re too young to retire and health problems force you to stop working, you may qualify for Oregon disability. Learn all about the two federal programs that pay Oregon disability benefits to those who qualify below.
Two Federal Programs Offer Oregon Disability Benefits
Both these programs provide Oregon disability benefits, but you cannot qualify for both on your own work record. Read through both sections below to learn which one you may qualify for before starting the claims process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability benefits applications and makes payments for these two programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you’re not sure which one you should apply for, that’s okay. You can actually use just one claim form to apply for both programs at the same time! Just mark the checkbox asking if you want the SSA to screen your application for SSDI as well as SSI. That spares you from having to fill out two identical applications for Oregon disability benefits.
Related: Connecticut Disability Benefits: What You Must Know for 2022
The SSDI Program’s Oregon Disability Benefits: How to Apply, Qualify & Average Payment Amounts
SSDI is a federal disability insurance program that covers American workers aged 18-64. Generally, you must work 10 years full-time in jobs that deduct FICA taxes from your paychecks before applying for SSDI. That’s how long it takes to earn 40 Social Security work credits, which never expire. Congress created this program to help working-age Americans tap into their Social Security money before reaching full retirement age (FRA). Since it went into effect in January 1956, SSDI has helped millions of Americans who become too disabled to work. Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about getting Oregon disability benefits from the federal SSDI program.
1. How Can I Tell If I’m Eligible to Apply for SSDI?
If you answer “yes” to all these questions, you likely meet the SSDI program’s basic eligibility requirements:
- Did your paychecks deduct Social Security or FICA taxes while working at least 5 in the last 10 years full-time? This is the first thing the SSDI program looks for on your application. If you stop working for five years in a row, then your SSDI policy coverage automatically lapses. This is because your FICA/Social Security taxes taken out of every paycheck pay your SSDI policy premiums. If your job doesn’t withhold FICA taxes, you also can’t qualify for SSDI on your own work record. This typically affects federal employees and anyone whose job provides pension-based benefits, such as teachers.
- Does your doctor say your condition’s bad enough to stop you from working for at least one year? The second thing the SSDI program looks for is whether you’re still working when you apply for Oregon disability. Your condition must last at least 12 months or result in your death to meet the SSDI program’s requirements.
- Has a doctor diagnosed or treated you within the last three months? Recent medical treatment puts you one step closer to approval for Oregon disability benefits. If not, you must undergo a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to confirm you’re truly unable to work.
- Are you aged 18-64 and not getting any Social Security benefits? The SSDI program pays Oregon disability to working-age applicants only. Once you reach your full retirement age (FRA), SSDI automatically converts into regular Social Security.
If you said “no” at least once, don’t give up! You may still be eligible for Oregon disability benefits from the federal SSI program.
2. How Long Will My First SSDI Payment Take?
Six months after your SSDI application date is the soonest you’ll get your first Oregon disability payment. The SSA takes 3-5 months to process SSDI claims for Oregon disability. That’s partly due to the five-month waiting period required under federal law. Still, you should know that just 20% of SSDI applicants get approved for benefits the first time they apply. Having a lawyer file your SSDI claim nearly triples your chances for winning Oregon disability benefits. All Oregon disability attorneys work on contingency. That means you won’t pay any fees unless the SSDI program awards you Oregon disability benefits.
On average, SSDI claims for Oregon disability benefits currently take 400 days to process statewide. If you apply on your own without a lawyer, you could wait 18 months or longer for your first check. If you’re denied, you have 60 more days to appeal that decision in writing.
The first appeal step is called reconsideration, which adds another 100 days to your wait time (on average). The SSA only approves about 2% of SSDI claims for Oregon disability benefits at this stage. If denied, your next appeal involves scheduling a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The SSDI program approves about 9% of Oregon disability applicants after their ALJ hearing. But the time you’ll wait just to plead your case varies, depending on where you live. In Eugene, you have just 10 months to wait for your appeals court date to arrive. But in Portland, it’ll take at least 13 months before you can plead your case. If that judge approves you for Oregon disability, you’ll wait 18+ months from your filing date for benefits!
3. How Much Money Does the SSDI Program Usually Pay Each Month?
Under federal law, the highest Oregon disability payment the SSDI program can pay in 2022 is $3,345/month. Nationwide, the average SSDI payment for disabled workers each month is $1,358. Your Oregon disability payment should equal about 40% of your average monthly paycheck earned while working. Some years, an annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase gives everyone a benefit raise.
4. Once I’m Approved, Does SSDI Pay Me Benefits for Life?
Unfortunately, the SSDI program’s Oregon disability payments are not permanent. Every 3-7 years, the SSDI program pauses your payments until you pass your next disability update review. If the SSDI program decides you’re no longer disabled at any time, they’ll terminate your Oregon disability benefits immediately. However, these disability updates stop happening once you reach your FRA. After that, the SSDI program’s Oregon disability benefits automatically convert into regular Social Security retirement. Your direct deposits should stay the same amount, but may go through on a different day of the month.
The SSI Program’s Oregon Disability Benefits: How to Apply, Qualify & Average Payment Amounts
If you can’t meet all the SSDI program’s requirements, then you may be eligible for SSI instead. This federal financial assistance program’s designed to help only the poorest blind or disabled working-age Americans. It also provides monthly benefits to Americans who are at least 65 years old based on age alone. If the SSI program approves you for Oregon disability benefits, those come from the federal government’s general tax fund. So, you won’t take any taxpayer money out of the Social Security trust fund. That said, the SSI program does screen each applicant for financial as well as medical eligibility. Learn more about the SSI program’s rules and payment amounts for eligible Oregon disability claimants below.
1. Only Applicants Who Are Blind, Disabled or Over 65 Years Old Can Qualify for SSI
If you’re 65 or older when you apply for SSI, you meet the program’s medical requirements based on age alone. You only need to worry about passing the SSI’s financial eligibility screening for Oregon disability benefits. Otherwise, a DDS medical exam must confirm that you’re blind or disabled.
2. SSI Financial Screening Requires Very Low Income & Almost No Assets
If your monthly income’s more than $1,350 when you apply, you probably won’t pass the SSI financial screening. “Monthly income” means money coming in from any source, not just what you earn if you’re working. The SSI program counts things like child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc. towards your monthly income. How much money do you have in the bank right now? You need less than $2,000 to fit under the SSI program’s countable assets limit. They’ll also look for anything else you own and can easily sell for cash to add towards your countable assets. This includes things like jewelry, stocks, bonds, lottery tickets, a second car, etc. Things the SSI program won’t count towards this $2,000 limit include:
- Your home and the lot it’s on (if you own it)
- One vehicle used for daily transportation (car, truck, motorcycle, boat)
- Your wedding ring, furniture, clothing, appliances, bedding, towels, etc.
Couples filing SSI claims for Oregon disability have to meet a combined income and asset limit to qualify. Eligible couples must have less than $3,000 in countable assets and $1,350 in combined monthly income when they apply.
3. Individuals Can Receive Up To $841, Couples Up To $1,261 In Monthly SSI
The SSI program’s monthly Oregon disability payments aren’t as much as SSDI pays, but the amount increases in certain years. Any year the SSA approves a COLA increase, it also applies to monthly SSI benefits. If the SSI program approves your claim, you must pass disability updates every 3-7 years if you’re younger than 65. If the SSI program decides you’re no longer disabled at any time, your Oregon disability payments stop immediately. You only have to pass these SSI disability updates until you reach your 65th birthday. Once that happens, you meet the program’s medical requirements based on age alone. The only thing to worry about after age 65 is failing an SSI financial eligibility screening.
What About Temporary or Short-Term Oregon Disability?
Short-term or temporary Oregon disability benefits aren’t available from any state-run program or the federal government.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
An Oregon disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to win benefits. A Social Security attorney will give you one free, no-obligation consultation to answer all your claim questions. All Oregon disability lawyers work on contingency, so if your claim gets denied, you pay $0 in legal fees. And if your case does win, then 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!
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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.