Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Oregon
Oregon stands 20th on America’s Health Rankings, however, it has the highest prevalence of mental illness in the country with poor access to healthcare. About 35% of those on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list are with disabilities related to mental disorders. The top second on the SSDI diagnostics list are those with disabilities related to musculoskeletal diseases (29%).
Anyone in Oregon with a severe disability can apply for SSDI benefits if your disability meets certain eligibility criteria that include:
- A disability that is an exact match or equivalent to a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book.
- A disability that is so severe that it prevents you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity for at least one year.
- You have contributed to the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits.
In Oregon about 33% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Oregon
About 14.8% of residents in Oregon suffer from some type of disability. Not every disability qualifies under the SSA definition of disability. If your disability is an exact match to one or more impairments in the Blue Book, you can be sure you have a very good chance of being approved for your claim. Terminal and extremely severe cases may even be given high-priority and put on the fast-track process for claims approval.
People who do not meet an exact condition in the Blue Book (which is the vast majority) can receive benefits via a medical vocational allowance. The SSA will review the claimant’s medical and vocational history to assess whether a claimant can qualify for SSDI benefits on the basis of a medical vocational allowance. This decision is made by evaluating the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) which is a measurement of the claimant’s physical and mental limitations. This information, combined with other factors like age and educational qualifications, is used to determine whether the claimant can return to his work or any other work where his/her skills can be transferred. Only claimants who are not able to work at his job or any other job, will be able to receive benefits via a medical vocational allowance.
The entire process can take 3 to 5 months, even more if there is a backlog in the system. Often, delays are due to the time it takes in retrieving medical records from the listed treatment sources. Another reason for the delay can be because the claimant has filed incomplete information. It is important to provide details such as the names, addresses and contact information of treatment centers and doctors who have treated you. Knowing how the SSDI claims process works can help you better prepare a winning case. Disability United can help you present your case in a way that clearly demonstrates you meet SSDI criteria for eligibility.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
An application for SSDI benefits can be made online, by phone, or in person at any of the 17 Social Security offices near you. The SSA will transfer your case to a state agency called the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS will review your medical history to see if it meets the SSDI criteria for approval. This may involve an examination of statements submitted by the treatment physicians as well as any consultative examinations that may be requested. A disability examiner trained to make SSDI claims determinations is the sole decision-maker in the initial application process.
On average, only 33% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Oregon. The 67% who received a denial notice should go through the appeals process to get the benefits they are entitled to receive. Many claimants make the mistake of starting the claims process all over again. This means you have forfeited your right for an appeal and this may be disadvantageous to you, particularly in time and the amount of back pay you receive. You have much to gain by going through the appeals process especially at the hearing stage where claimants normally have a higher rate of success. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This process is identical to the initial application process and therefore the chances of being approved are very slim unless your condition has become worse and you have new medical evidence to support this. The rate of approval at this stage in Oregon is about 10%.
- The Court Hearing: An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will decide your case. The case is moved from the DDS to a court making the decision of the ALJ totally independent of the social disability examiner. Since you are free to present your case in the best way possible, this is your best chance for winning. In Oregon, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 45.5%.
- The Appeals Council: The decision made by the ALJ is reviewed by the Council to determine whether it was a fair judgement. The Council can reverse the decision if they find convincing evidence was overlooked by the ALJ or send your case to another ALJ for a fresh hearing.
- Federal Review: Not many are encouraged to pursue their case at this last level. It is a long arduous, expensive process that is unlikely to end in your favor, unless you have proof that your case has been unfairly treated by the SSA.
All appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial notice at any level. Advocates at Disability United can greatly increase your chances of getting your claim approved. This is because our advocates are well-versed in the SSDI claims process and can easily help you prepare a winning case. An advocate is especially helpful in establishing an early onset date which means you get more back pay when benefits are approved.
Find out whether you qualify to receive SSDI benefits by filling out our free disability evaluation form today!
If you know your disability could last a year and prevents you from working during that time, don’t wait to apply for SSDI benefits. 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 Oregon
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Oregon State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Oregon Department of Human Services: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services, and more.
- 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.
- SNAP Benefits: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.