A Guide to SSDI and SSI: Social Security Disability Benefits in Oklahoma
If you live in Oklahoma and you are struggling to stay employed full-time because of a disability, it’s important to know that there are laws in place to protect you financially. If you have a disability, either physical or psychological, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or for Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI).
Here’s a quick look at how SSDI differs from SSI, and how Social Security disability benefits are handled in Oklahoma
- You may qualify for SSDI if you’ve worked long enough and have paid enough taxes to qualify for Social Security insurance. You may qualify for SSI instead if you haven’t built up enough of these “work credits,” but you have a disability and you are considered low income.
- Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through taxes taken out of your paycheck each time. If you think you might qualify for SSDI, you still must apply for coverage of Social Security disability benefits.
- There’s a five month waiting period between the date that you are officially considered disabled and the date which the Social Security Administration will start paying benefits. If you’ve been receiving SSDI payments for more than two years, you will likely become eligible for Medicare.
- Supplemental Security Income requires a “means test,” which means that applicants must be under a certain specified income in order to qualify. SSI requirements for disabilities state that individuals must have less than $2,000 in assets (couples must have less than $3,000 in assets), and continuous income (through a job, for example) must be limited as well.
- If you are applying for SSI because of a disability, you are likely already having trouble maintaining a steady job. The amount of money that you receive is based on need and other qualifying factors. Considering that around 27% of Americans have absolutely no money saved up at all, many people could qualify for these benefits but don’t realize it.
- If you qualify for SSI for disability benefits, you’ll also qualify for other financial assistance programs for low-income households (such as Medicaid and food stamps). SSI disability payments typically begin quickly after your application is received and accepted.
It is important to understand that applying for Social Security disability benefits is not the simplest task in the world. Many applicants end up being denied the first time they apply for disability benefits and then have to file an appeal. The Social Security Administration can’t provide financial assistance to everyone who applies, considering that around 64.2 million Americans were receiving some sort of financial assistance through one of its programs in 2014 (including 5.4 million new beneficiaries that same year).
Both SSDI and SSI are federal assistance programs, but states regulate them individually. For Oklahoma residents, the Oklahoma Disability Determination Division (DDD) is responsible for deciding which individuals can qualify for financial assistance because of a disability. If you need extra assistance applying for either of these programs or if you aren’t sure which program you’ll most likely qualify for, be sure to contact Social Security attorneys for help.