Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma ranks 45th in America’s State Health rankings. Obesity is a big health concern for about 33% of its people. Obesity is associated with a range of conditions that can lead to serious disabilities that prevent people from working such as metabolic disorders, depression, and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. About 31% on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list are those with diseases related to the musculoskeletal system disorder. That figure is amongst the highest in the country. Mental disorders account for 34% on the SSDI beneficiary list.
Anyone in Oklahoma with a severe disability can qualify for SSDI benefits if you meet certain eligibility criteria which include:
- You have a disability that meets an exact listing in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book.
- You have a disability that is equivalent to a listing in the Blue Book.
- You are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a disability that has lasted or is projected to last at least one year.
- You have contributed to the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits.
In Oklahoma about 28% to 32% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Oklahoma
About 15.6% of the population in Oklahoma suffers from a disability. Not all disabilities qualify for SSDI benefits and currently only 5.8% receive SSDI benefits. If your disability is an exact match to any one or more of the listings in the Blue Book, your chances of a quick approval are extremely good. You will be put on a fast-track application process. The SSA also recognizes disability cases that are extremely serious or terminal and may start your benefits even before the official claims process has been completed.
However, the majority of SSDI claimants will not meet an exact listing in the Blue Book. They can still receive benefits through a medical vocational allowance. The SSA will look at the following when making a determination for medical vocational allowance:
- Your medical history showing that your condition is comparable or equivalent to any one of the listings in the Blue Book.
- Your work history showing of the last 15 years.
- Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) which is an evaluation of your mental and physical limitations.
Combined with other factors such as age and educational qualifications, the SSA will determine whether you are capable of working at your current job or any other jobs where your skills can be transferred in order to earn an income that you can live on. You may be requested to undergo further diagnostics to help the SSA assess your disability and how it impacts daily life.
The initial application process can take 90 to 120 days. It can take longer if you have not filed complete information regarding your disability, work and medical history. It is important to provide detailed and accurate information on your application papers. The SSA may also have a backlog in their system that may further delay the process. As your advocates, Disability United can help you prepare your documentation so that you have a good chance of approval at the earliest possible stage.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
You can apply for SSDI benefits online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. In the state of Oklahoma there are 19 Social Security offices. While your case is received by the SSA, it is transferred to a state agency called the Disability Determination Services (DDS) where a disability examiner will be assigned to your case. The disability examiner is solely responsible for making a determination on your case. He will retrieve your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. He may consult with medical and vocational experts to help him assess your condition. You may be called for an interview in-person or via telephone or video, if you are not able to appear in person.
About 70% of SSDI claimants in Oklahoma will receive a denial notice forcing them to go through the appeals system which actually presents a much better chance of your claim getting approved. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: Here your case is reviewed by another disability examiner whose job is to check whether the previous disability examiner has made a fair determination based on all the evidence. You are allowed to present new medical records if the records you initially submitted are over 90 days old. The rate of approval at this stage in Oklahoma is 7.5%.
- The Court Hearing: An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your case. He may give due weightage to your treatment physician or other medical/vocational experts whose testimonies may help support your case. This is the best chance you have and in Oklahoma there is a 45% chance of winning your case.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will determine whether the decision made by the ALJ was fairly determined by looking at all the evidence once again. They can send your case to another ALJ if they find an unfair ruling.
- Federal Review: Not many are advised to go to this last stage of appeal. It’s a lengthy, expensive process and most will find a better chance of claim approval by starting the SSDI claims process all over again.
Since appeals have to be filed with the SSA within 60 days of the date of the denial notice, it is beneficial to have an advocate assist you in the appeals process. This would avoid missing the appeals deadline. (If you miss it, you will need to start the application process all over again). Here at Disability United, we are well-versed in the entire SSDI claims process. Advocates can help you understand why your claim was denied and meet the gaps in your case with evidence that shows you meet the SSDI approval criteria. Advocates can also help you maximize SSDI back pay by establishing the earliest onset date possible.
Do you know whether you qualify for SSDI benefits? Find out by filling out our free disability evaluation form today!
There is no need to wait to apply for SSDI benefits if you know your disability is likely to last a year. The SSDI claims process can take several months. Applying early will mean you start getting your benefits sooner. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Oklahoma
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Oklahoma State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- The Office of Disability Concerns: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services, and more.
- Developmental Disability Services: This agency offers services to individuals with developmental disabilities (aged 3 and up) and their families to help them lead safer, healthier, more independent and productive lives.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person, or a young child are given priority.