Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Eligibility
As of 2020, 5.3% of Oklahoma citizens rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These benefits are a vital resource for many in the state, but to receive it, you will need to prove that you are eligible. SSDI is a federal program meant for disabled citizens who have contributed to Social Security through taxes and meet certain conditions. To be eligible for SSDI, you may need to gather evidence and present your case. Total benefits awarded may vary based on your work history.
An attorney with experience building SSDI claims can work with you to put together your claim and determine the best course of action for your situation. If you are not eligible for SSDI, you may be eligible for other assistance programs. Our firm is ready to help.
Am I Eligible for SSDI in Oklahoma?
The eligibility requirements for SSDI are as follows:
- You are suffering from a disability that is expected to last more than 12 months
- You have worked at a job that is eligible for social security
These may seem like simple requirements, but it can be difficult to determine if your condition is classified as a disability.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses several metrics to determine whether your condition is a disability. If your condition is on their list of disabilities, they will automatically determine that you have an SSDI-eligible disability. If not, you will need to prove that your condition merits SSDI benefits.
To prove that you are suffering from a disability, you must show that your condition prevents you from working in the same position you previously held, you cannot adjust to another employment situation, and that your condition will last more than twelve months or is terminal.
Determining whether your work experience is eligible for SSDI benefits can also be confusing. To receive an allowance, you must have earned a certain number of work credits in your working life as well as a certain number within the past 10 years. If you have not worked enough during this period, you may not be able to receive SSDI benefits.
Generally, if you have worked at least five out of the past 10 years, you should be eligible for SSDI benefits. However, the SSA uses a quarter system to measure your work history which can be confusing for applicants. Each year is made up of four quarters, equivalent to four work credits.
As of 2020, for each quarter, you need to have earned at least $1,410 in wages. Your work credits do not need to be earned during the quarter, however. So long as you earn at least $5,640 each year, you will receive four work credits towards your Social Security Disability Insurance payment. This number may change over time, however, so be sure to use your SSA account to check your eligibility.
The number of credits you need is based on your age. If you are under age 28, you must have at least six credits, roughly a year and a half of work time in the past ten years.
For each additional year, you should generally be able to show that you worked at least half the time, that is, you will need to have earned two additional credits, or $1,820 per year.
How Much Will My Benefits Be?
Your total benefits depend on how much money you have paid into Social Security through your taxes. Social Security benefits will last for life, so long as you remain eligible. Once you hit your full retirement age, your benefits will convert to retirement benefits and will continue until your death. The current cap of monthly allowances for Oklahoma is $3,011 per month, while the average for 2020 is $1,258.
A realistic estimate of SSDI payments is between $800 and $1,800 per month, though your specific allowance varies based on your previous earnings. Working with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can help you ensure that you have correctly reported your eligible earnings.
Because filing for SSDI is often a lengthy process, when you are declared eligible, you may receive backpay. This total will be determined by the number of months you have been waiting for your claim to be confirmed, multiplied by your monthly allowance.
Will My Benefits Change?
Once you have had your monthly allowance set, it will generally remain the same. Each year, your allowance will be re-examined to account for inflation and increased costs of living. An allowance in 2020 may not be enough to live on in later years. These cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) are the primary way your SSDI allowance will change.
As an SSDI recipient, you may also be eligible for other benefits. If your SSDI payment is low enough, you may also be able to receive Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
Should your condition improve, and you are able to return to work, you will no longer be eligible for SSDI. It is possible that you may return to work and find that you are not able to maintain employment due to your disability. To account for this, SSDI rules permit a trial work period without losing your SSDI benefits. If you are unable to continue working after a specified period of time due to your disability, you will still be eligible for your monthly allowance.
How Social Security Law Center Can Help
If you are facing a long-term disability and need help filing for insurance, our team is ready to help. We have extensive experience building our clients’ claim and helping them fight for their allowance. Our attorneys will work with you to correctly file your claim and document your disability and work credits so that you can receive your maximum monthly allowance.
We offer free consultations, and we are one of the only firms in Oklahoma that will stay with you even into the federal appeals process. We understand how vital SSDI benefits can be. With SSLC at your side, you know you have a team you can rely on. Call today or reach out to us online.