Filing for Disability in Colorado: Social Security and SSI

Tips about filing for and appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits in Colorado.

March 16, 2018
If you live in Colorado and are become unable to work due to illness or injury, you could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These federal programs provide monthly payments to those who are deemed “disabled” for at least one year.

To receive SSDI benefits in Colorado, you must have paid enough Social Security taxes to be eligible (generally done through payroll deductions). If you lack the work history (and thus Social Security contributions) to be able to receive SSDI, you might qualify for SSI if you have minimal assets and income.

How to File for Disability in Colorado

If you live in Colorado and would like to apply for Social Security disability, you have a few options.

  • You can apply for disability in person by visiting your local Social Security office.
  • You can also call the Social Security Administration’s customer service number at 800-772-1213. A representative will be able to set up an appointment for you to apply either in person or via telephone.
  • If you’re comfortable using the Internet and are applying for SSDI (not SSI), you can complete your disability application online at www.ssa.gov.

    If Your Colorado Social Security Claim is Denied

    Approximately three to four months after you apply for disability, you’ll receive a written notice in the mail telling you whether you have been approved for benefits or your claim has been denied. Over 60% of those who apply for Social Security or SSI disability in Colorado receive a denial at the initial application stage. However, many of these Colorado disability applicants are awarded disability benefits at a later stage in the appeals process.

    Reconsideration Is Not Part of Appeal Process

    In most states, the first step in the disability appeals process is to file a “Request for Reconsideration.” In that step, a different claims examiner reviews your file. However, the reconsideration step was eliminated in Colorado as part of an experimental program.

    Stage of Application

    Colorado

    Nationally

    Approval After Initial Application

    37%

    36%

    Approval After Appeal Hearing

    49%

    55%

    Hearing Wait Time

    16.5 months

    18 months

    Disability Hearings in Colorado

    You can appeal a disability denial by requesting a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The average wait for a Social Security disability hearing in Colorado is 16 months from the date a hearing is requested at the Denver hearing office, or 18 months at the Colorado Springs hearing office (as of early 2018).

    At your Colorado disability hearing, you will have the chance to speak directly to the ALJ, who will be the one deciding whether or not you’re eligible for Social Security benefits. He or she may ask you questions regarding your condition(s), previous employment, daily routine, and what you can or can’t do. There could be a doctor or vocational expert present to give their opinion about your case. You will receive the judge’s decision in the mail, usually within 30 days of your hearing. In rare instances, an ALJ will announce their decision at a disability hearing.

    In the 12 months ending in February 2018, 49% of ALJ decisions were favorable (approvals of benefits), and 51% were unfavorable (denials of benefits). If you receive an unfavorable decision following your hearing, there are two more steps in the disability claim appeals process: the Appeals Council review and a federal court lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Colorado.

    SSI State Supplement for Colorado

    Colorado residents who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are eligible for an additional monthly payment from the state through the Aid to the Needy Disabled, Colorado Supplement (AND-CS) or Aid to the Needy Blind, Colorado Supplement (AB-CS). SSI recipients who live on their own or in someone else’s household will receive $25 per month. SSI recipients who reside in an adult foster home or are receiving in-home care could receive a larger amount, ranging from $475 to $551 per month.

    Contact Information for Disability Offices in Colorado

    There are 17 Social Security field office locations in Colorado – you can find the nearest one by visiting Social Security's office locator.

    Colorado DDS Offices

    Social Security utilizes state agencies to make decisions on disability claims in their state. In Colorado this is handled by the Colorado Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is under the Department of Human Services. Below is the contact information for the Colorado DDS office.

    Colorado Disability Determination Services
    3190 S. Vaughn Way
    Aurora, CO, 80014
    Tel: (303) 368-4100
    Fax: (303) 752-5692

    Colorado Hearing Offices

    Social Security disability hearings in Colorado are held at one of the SSA’s Offices of Hearing Operations (OHO). There are two hearing offices in Colorado, located in Denver and Colorado Springs.

    Colorado Springs OHO
    Plaza of the Rockies
    111 S. Tejon Street
    Suite 401, North Tower
    Colorado Springs, CO 80903
    Tel: (888) 844-8269
    Fax: (719) 634-1735

    Denver OHO
    1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 752
    Denver, Colorado 80204-3584
    Tel: (888) 383-8889
    Fax: (303) 844-5817

    Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Colorado

    The State of Colorado offers services to disabled workers who would like to return to work, through the Department of Human Services. The first step in Colorado’s vocational rehabilitation process is to complete an application through the Department of Vocational Rehab (DVR). For more information on vocational rehabilitation in Colorado, see the DVR’s website.

    Legal Services in Colorado

    If you've been denied disability benefits in Colorado, you should consider hiring a disability lawyer to help you appeal. Consider hiring an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to assist you with your disability claim. You can find a local lawyer by going to our Colorado disability lawyers page.

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