Filing for Disability in Colorado: Social Security and SSI

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

How old are you?

If you live in Colorado and are unable to work due to illness or injury, you could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (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 Qualify for Social Security 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.

Colorado's Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will review your application and decide whether you're disabled, using the same Social Security rules that are used in every state.

    What If My 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 by Disability Determination Services

    The first step in the disability appeals process is to file a "Request for Reconsideration." In that step, a different claims examiner at Disability Determination Services (DDS) reviews your file.

    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 10 months from the date a hearing is requested at the Denver hearing office, or 9 months at the Colorado Springs hearing office (in mid-2022).

    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. The judge 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 2021-2022, 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.

    What Are My Chances of Getting Disability in Colorado?

    Below is a chart that compares the approval rates and wait times in Colorado to the rates nationally.

    Stage of Process

    Colorado

    Nationally

    Initial Application Approval Rate

    35% approval

    36% approval

    Reconsideration Approval Rate

    12% approval

    13% approval

    Appeal Hearing Approval Rate

    49% approval

    51% approval

    Average Hearing Wait Time

    10 months

    10 months

    Does Colorado Have a Supplemental Payment for SSI Recipients?

    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 are receiving in-home care could receive a larger amount, up to $530.

    How Can I Find 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.

    Where Are Colorado's 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

    Where Are Colorado's 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, North Tower
    111 S. Tejon Street, Suite 401
    Colorado Springs, CO 80903
    Tel: (888) 844-8269
    Fax: (833) 779-0458

    Services the following field offices: Alamosa, Canon City, Colorado Springs, Durango, La Junta, Pueblo, and Trinidad

    Denver OHO
    1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 752
    Denver, Colorado 80204-3584
    Tel: (888) 383-8889
    Fax: (833) 586-0160

    Services the following field offices: Aurora, Denver, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lakewood, Littleton, Louisville, and Montrose

    What Vocational Rehabilitation Services Are Available 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.

    How Can I Get Help With My Social Security Disability Claim?

    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; they can increase your chances of winning your appeal.

    Updated June 9, 2022

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