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Amost 6% percent of Oklahomans (age 18-64) currently receive disability benefits — and a range of conditions can qualify.
If you can no longer work due to injury or illness, you should consider applying.
This guide breaks down everything you need to know about disability programs, the application process, your chances of approval, and the amount you might earn if approved.
There isn’t a set, state-based disability program in Oklahoma (only five states have one, and they’re all short-term options). But there are some national and private disability options you might qualify for.
Here’s a brief overview of the most popular benefit programs:
For the rest of this article, we’re going to focus on SSDI and SSI. These are the programs that most Oklahomans qualify for. It’s generally what someone means when they talk about “applying for disability.”
It’s also frequently necessary to apply for SSDI and SSI when trying to qualify for other programs (like most long-term disability plans). Or, they’re advantageous to apply for in conjunction with other programs (like VA benefits).
To qualify for either SSDI you have to meet two types of requirements: Medical requirements (which are the same for both programs), and technical requirements (which differ between SSDI and SSI).
Any medical condition that prevents you from working can qualify for disability. Generally speaking, your condition qualifies if it lasts longer than one year or could potentially lead to death.
You cannot get SSDI benefits if your condition will improve, such that it no longer prevents you from working, within the year.
Amongst these the most common conditions to qualify in Oklahoma were:
Amongst the mental disorders the most common conditions were:
Some particularly severe or terminal conditions (stage 4 cancer, ALS), may be listed for compassionate allowance. In these cases, you automatically qualify for federal benefits (so long as you meet the work or income requirements).
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must also:
More on SSDI eligibility here.
To qualify for SSI, you must also:
More on qualifying for SSI here.
You can apply for disability benefits with the help of a lawyer, or on your own. Most often, you’ll be required to file the application and supplementary documentation on your work history, your day-to-day functioning, and your treatment history.
There are three ways to submit an application for disability benefits:
If you’re not applying with a lawyer, we highly recommend you apply at the SSA office. They won’t give you legal advice, but they can advise you on how to answer the application questions accurately. You can generally call your local SSA office to make an appointment ahead of time.
If you are applying with a lawyer, they should do the heavy-lifting: either they’ll get your case information and apply on your behalf, or they’ll walk you through how to apply on your own.
It takes most people hours to submit an application because of the documentation needed.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to submit an application:
Again, if you’re working with a lawyer, they should fill out your application for you (the right way), gather your medical records, and confirm receipt with the SSA. (If you’d like more advice on how to fill out the initial application, or how you can find the right lawyer — Atticus can help out for free).
While some people have their application accepted at the initial decision stage — most people (~70%) are rejected, and have to file for reconsideration. About 91% of reconsiderations are also rejected, and applicants request a hearing with an administrative law judge.
At a hearing, nearly 50% of people are approved for benefits — and your odds increase threefold if you work with a lawyer. We wrote at length about what to expect at a hearing and your chances of winning your appeal.
The length of time it takes to get benefits varies. Most applicants will be denied at first, and each stage of the appeal process comes with another waiting period.
In 2021, to receive an initial decision took an average of 5.5 months (165 days).
The time to process reconsideration requests took 4.9 months (147 days).
The time you wait for your hearing date depends on your SSA hearing office. The average wait in Oklahoma, between requesting a hearing and appearing at one, is anywhere from 8 months to one year.
Adding these up, if you file your paperwork immediately, it takes around 1.67 years (20 months) to get disability benefits in Oklahoma. Once you add in the time spent sending in supplementary forms, filing for reconsideration, requesting a hearing, and waiting for the judge’s decision — most applicants will spend around two to two and a half years going from application to approval.
Sending the SSA your documentation as soon as possible is the only way to speed up this process — so it’s important to meet deadlines, and get forms and medical records their way as fast as possible. Your lawyer can help you stay on track, and will call to confirm the SSA has all the information they need.
The average monthly benefit for disabled workers in Oklahoma was $1,303.18 per month according to the most recent SSA data. This is slightly less than the nationwide average though well below the maximum possible SSDI benefit of $3,627 per month in 2023.
It’s easy to learn exactly what you would qualify for by signing up for an SSA.gov account. To check your potential benefit amount, and your SSDI work-history eligibility:
The average monthly SSI payment in Oklahoma is $623.58 per month — just above the national average of $568.13. The maximum you can receive for SSI is $914 per month in 2023. The SSA will subtract any other regular monthly income from this amount. So if you make any additional income (stocks and investments, SNAP benefits, part-time work, etc.), that will be deducted from your monthly check.
When you’re applying, disability lawyers can save you from critical application missteps and save you weeks of paperwork.
At the hearing stage, they’re critical to have in your corner. They cross examine witnesses from the state and help you make the best possible case before a judge.
Overall, applicants with a lawyer on their side are three times more likely to win benefits than those without, and 83% of applicants have legal representation at the hearing stage.
If you’re trying to vet for a disability lawyer on your own, ask these questions before choosing one:
It can be challenging to suss out great lawyers from mediocre lawyers without a legal background. If you’d like to be matched with a lawyer who’s a great fit for your claim, Atticus can help (for free).
We’ve spent years vetting disability lawyers and have built a network of legal teams (chosen from the top 5% of firms). We trust them to treat our clients well, and to win their cases. If you want our help evaluating the right disability lawyer for you, sign up here.
To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.
Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.
It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Oklahoma. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits
The average SSDI payment in Oklahoma is $1,303.18 per month. The average SSI payment is $623.58 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.
Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.
No, Oklahoma doesn't have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Oklahoma can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.
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