Anyone who lives in Oregon and is so disabled that they are unable to work may be able to apply for a disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA uses quite exacting criteria to decide whether you are able to obtain a disability benefit. The criteria include work history, the history and nature of your disability and how it prevents you from working. A disability lawyer can help you with your application.
Social Security Benefits in Oregon: Key Facts
Disability benefits in Oregon are provided by a federal body, the Social Security Administration. This means that filing a disability claim is possible in any state including Oregon.
There are 15 social security offices located across Oregon where you can attend and apply for a social security benefit. The cities where a SSA field office is located are:
- La Grande,
- North Bend,
- Oregon City,
- The Dalles.
Whether you make a claim for a social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefit or a supplementary security income (SSI) benefit depends on the number of years of work you have completed and any work credits you have accrued.
When a person makes a claim for a disability benefit, the claim is passed to the state office of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) which assess the merits of the claim. The DDS has medical personnel who are able to compare the severity of the disability with a listing in the SSA’s Blue Book.
Most, but not all types of disabilities are listed in the Blue Book. The DDS may ask the claimant to attend for further testing or to carry out a residual functional capacity assessment.
Oregon state disability statistics record a disability rate of around 25% of the state population, similar to the national average of 25.6%. This doesn’t mean that this number of people receive a benefit, though. A disability must be severe enough to prevent continuation of work for a SSDI or SSI benefit to be obtained.
The state’s average hearing processing time is around a year (364 days). This is a little longer than the average state hearing processing time.
The SSA database records that in the last reporting period (September 2020 to October 2020), there were 11 individual ALJ judges who attended varied numbers of hearings in Oregon.
The ALJ statistics are given as raw data with no accompanying explanation of variation between individual judges, but does show that the majority of ALJ hearings result in a favorable result. Of those decisions that are favorable, the vast majority are classified as “fully favorable” with only a small minority classified as “partly favorable.”
Appealing a Denied Social Security Benefit Claim in Oregon
Many benefit claims are denied at the outset, often because there is insufficient medical and case history information for SSA claims officers to make a realistic decision.
There is an established procedure which you should follow if you decide to appeal a denied disability claim in Oregon. The first step is to request a reconsideration of your claim. If this is rejected, then you should request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Before you attend the hearing you should make sure that you have more detailed information about your disability. This may include the following:
- how it matches the SSA’s Blue Book criteria;
- your unique medical history,
- your work history;
- the date your disability commenced and became so serious you couldn’t work.
You could ask your doctor to provide a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment which determines what you can and cannot do both physically and mentally.
The ALJ will evaluate all the information provided to the SSA and any new information supplied. Medical experts may also be present to ask questions and make their own assessment. Many claims are accepted after such a hearing, but if it is unsuccessful, there are further steps in the appeal process that you may decide to take.
Help Filing for Disability Benefits in Oregon
A disability lawyer can help you with a SSD benefit claim, and is particularly helpful if your social security benefit claim has been denied.
Many disability benefit claims are denied initially, but with clearer information about your condition and possibly a RFC assessment, the benefit claim denial may be reversed. The disability lawyer can lead you through a disability benefits appeal so you have a higher chance of having your claim accepted.