Important: We updated this article in May 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. Almost 800,000 people (or 1 in 5 Oregonians) are aged 50-64. Once you turn 50, special rules make it easier to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits! Yet in 2022, just 2.2% of the state’s population (93,286 people) received Oregon disability payments through the federal SSDI program. Another 1.7% 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:
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.
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 18-66. Generally, you must work 10 years in jobs that deduct FICA taxes from your paychecks before you apply for SSDI. That’s how long it takes to earn 40 Social Security work credits, which never expire. Congress created this program to help younger 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 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 you pay Social Security or FICA payroll taxes while working at least 5 in the last 10 years? This is the first thing the SSDI program looks for on your application. If you stop working for 5 years in a row, then your SSDI coverage automatically lapses. This is because your FICA/Social Security taxes taken out of every paycheck pay your SSDI policy premiums. If you don’t pay FICA payroll taxes, you also can’t qualify for SSDI on your own work record. This usually affects federal employees and anyone whose job provides pension-based benefits, such as teachers.
- Does your doctor say your health is bad enough to make you stop 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.
- Has a doctor seen or treated you within the last three months? Recent medical treatment puts you one step closer to getting benefits. If not, you must undergo a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to confirm you’re truly unable to work.
- Are you aged 18-66 and not getting any Social Security benefits? The SSDI program only pays Oregon disability to people younger than 67. 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 qualify 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 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 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 before 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 your request for benefits, you’ll wait 18+ months from your filing date!
3. How Much Money Does the SSDI Program Usually Pay Each Month?
Right now, the highest Oregon disability payment the SSDI program can pay in 2023 is $3,627 per month. Nationwide, the average SSDI payment for disabled workers each month is $1,483. 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 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 end 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 Americans. It also provides monthly benefits to those 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 person’s finances and medical issues. Learn more about the SSI program rules and Oregon disability pay amounts 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 screening for Oregon disability benefits. Otherwise, a consultative exam must confirm you’re blind or disabled.
2. SSI Financial Screening Requires Very Low Income & Almost No Assets
If your monthly income is more than $1,470 when you apply, you won’t pass the SSI financial test. “Monthly income” means money coming in from any source, not just what you earn by 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 $1,470 in total monthly income.
3. Individuals Can Receive Up To $914, Couples Up To $1,371 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. Once approved, you must pass a continuing disability review (CDR) 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 updates until your 65th birthday. The only thing to worry about after age 65 is failing an SSI financial test.
What About Temporary or Short-Term Oregon Disability?
Short-term or temporary Oregon disability benefits aren’t available from any state 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 consultation to answer all your claim questions. All disability lawyers work on contingency. That means if the SSA denies your claim, then you pay $0 in legal fees. And if you win, then you’ll only pay one small fee out of your back pay.
Want free expert claim help without leaving your home? Click the button below now to start your free benefits quiz to see if you may qualify for a free phone call during regular business hours:
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.