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Oregon provides several disability services for its residents at local and federal levels. Assistance comes in the form of insurance benefits, independent living support, long-term housing care, and educational services to students with disabilities.
In addition to state services, Oregon residents may also qualify for federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Both SSDI and SSI are federal programs but are administered by state agencies. People seeking these benefits begin by applying with the Social Security Administration (SSA), but their application will be processed at the state level. Applications go through Oregon’s Disability Determination Services (DDS), a branch of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
Facts About Oregon
Oregon has 16 Social Security offices as well as two Offices of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) to assist its residents. Oregon is on par with the national average, with 25.6% of residents having some kind of disability. However, Oregon tends to approve more disability applications than the national average, with around 40% of first-time applicants receiving funding. There are also several agencies in place, like the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI), to ensure residents retain all the disability rights Oregon provides.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Oregon
The criteria for an applicant to receive SSDI in Oregon are the same as the rest of the country, though initial approval is done at the state level. You must have a Social Security number and been a worker long enough to have paid into the system. The program primarily assists those who are unable to work due to a disability. If you have a job, you can still qualify for benefits, but you can’t be earning over $1,310 a month.
Your disability must be severe enough to impact your ability to work and must be listed in the SSA Blue Book. The disabilities on this list have all been predetermined and classified as “severe” conditions that limit the ability to perform work for at least 12 months. These conditions can be an intellectual disability, a physical disability like cerebral palsy or blindness, or developmental disabilities.
Meeting the above criteria is just a starting point. You will need to have your application reviewed by DDS. Not everyone who applies will receive SSDI benefits. Some factors such as receiving workers’ compensation can affect your eligibility. Regardless, you should always apply even if you think you may be denied. There are ways to appeal if you disagree with a decision.
If you are currently working, you have the right to reasonable accommodation by your employer if you have a disability. Additionally, workers with disabilities are protected from discrimination under Oregon law.
How To Apply for SSDI in Oregon
There are three ways to file for Social Security Disability: online, over the phone, or in person.
Whichever method you choose, you should take time to gather relevant information beforehand to make the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits go smoothly. You can expect to provide the following documentation:
- Personal information: date and place of birth, marriage and divorce records, name and date of birth of minor children, and any military records
- Basic employment information if you are working
- Bank account information for direct deposit should you be approved
- References of those who can comment on your disability
- All diagnosed medical conditions, records, tests, and names of doctors
- Job and education history
You can apply online at the SSA.gov, or over the phone with the federal Social Security office at 800-772-1213. If you prefer to apply in person, contact your local Oregon office below for assistance. Most offices require that you make an appointment beforehand.
How To Appeal a Denial in Oregon
With approximately 40% of initial applications being approved, this means that the remaining 60% are denied on the first round. If this happens to you, don’t give up. You still may be eligible for SSDI benefits in Oregon for a physical or intellectual disability claim.
Follow these steps to appeal your denial:
Level 1: Reconsideration – Your first option is to request to have a different representative from DDS review your application to make a new determination. You must make this request within 60 days of your initial denial.
Level 2: Disability Hearing – If your first appeal was denied, you have an additional 60 days to request a hearing (called a disability adjudication) with an administrative law judge. You will need to attend the hearing at one of Oregon’s two Hearing and Appeals Offices, either in Portland or Eugene. A claimant may be asked to bring additional documentation about their disability or provide witnesses like family, friends, or doctors who can speak about the disability.
Level 3: Appeals Council – If your disability adjudication was unsuccessful, you can request the Social Security Appeals Council review your case. This must be done within 60 days of your most recent denial.
Level 4: Federal Court – Your last option is to file a lawsuit by appealing to the district federal court. There is only one district federal court in Oregon, located in Portland.
If your disability application continues to be denied you may also look into applying for an individual grant. There are several local and national nonprofits and private businesses that offer disability grants to civilians and veterans such as the Oregon Special Needs Trust (OSNT).
More Oregon Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program run by the SSA. SSI awards insurance to individuals of any age who are disabled and have limited income. Additionally, it provides aid to low-income seniors over age 65 regardless of disability. The maximum SSI benefits are capped at $794 a month for an individual.
If you qualify for SSI, you will likely qualify for Oregon Medicaid, commonly referred to as the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). OHP provides medical insurance benefits for anyone if they meet certain income requirements (a family of four cannot make more than $35,245 annually). Applications for OHP can be completed online. OHP covers services like doctor’s visits, emergency services, prescription drugs, and home health care among others.
The state’s Employment Department oversees Oregon Unemployment benefits that provide financial help to unemployed workers as they seek new employment. The program is funded entirely through employer taxes and provides a maximum of $673 a week for those who qualify.
Oregon Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Oregon|
|Beaverton SSA Office||11975 SW 2nd St Suite 100|
Beaverton, OR 97005
|The Dalles SSA Office||401 E 3rd St Suite 110|
The Dalles, OR 97058
|Portland Metro SSA Office||1538 SW Yamhill St|
Portland, OR 97205
|Eugene SSA Office||2504 Oakmont Way|
Eugene, OR 97401
|Salem SSA Office||1750 McGilchrist St SE Ste 110|
Salem, OR 97302
|La Grande SSA Office||2205 Cove Ave|
La Grande, OR 97850
|Medford SSA Office||3501 Excel Dr Suite 101|
Medford, OR 97504
|North Bend SSA Office||3661 Broadway|
North Bend, OR 97459
|Roseburg SSA Office||1730 NW Hughwood Ave|
Roseburg, OR 97471
|Portland-East O||17925 SE Division St|
Portland, OR 97236
|Oregon City||194 Beverly Drive|
Oregon City, OR 97045
|Albany SSA Office||1390 Waverly Dr SE Ste 110|
Albany, OR 97322
|Ontario SSA Office||908 SE 5th Avenue|
Ontario, OR 97914
|Pendleton SSA Office||1229 SE 3rd Street Suite 100|
Pendleton, OR 97801
|Warrenton SSA Office||1479 SE Discovery Ln Ste 104|
Warrenton, OR 97146
|Bend SSA Office||250 NW Franklin Ave Suite 201|
Bend, OR 97703
Oregon Hearing and Appeal Offices
Oregon is in Region 10 (Seattle), which services Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
|Region 10 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Oregon|
|SSA Hearing Office – Eugene||211 E. 7th Avenue|
Eugene, OR 97401
|SSA Hearing Office – Portland||825 NE Multnomah Street|
Portland, OR 97232-2483