Filing for Social Security Disability in Oregon

Oregon's Disability Determination Services office in Salem will decide whether you're disabled. The Salem office approves almost half of the disability applications that Social Security sends to it.

By , Attorney (Willamette University College of Law)

The application for disability in Oregon starts at the Social Security Administration—for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—but then is handed off to a state agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS).

Here's some helpful information on the disability process in Oregon, as well as state-specific statistics and resources.

How Do I Apply for and Get Disability Benefits in Oregon?

You can file your disability application for Social Security disability benefits in one of three ways:

What's the Disability Determination Process in Oregon?

At the Social Security office (or over the phone), a claims representative will review your application to make sure you've met all of the technical requirements for benefits (such as the work history requirements for SSDI or the income limits for SSI).

If you meet the technical requirements for either SSDI or SSI, or both, Social Security will send your application to a claims examiner at Oregon's Disability Determination Services office in Salem for a medical decision to be made on your records.

A claims examiner at DDS makes the initial disability determination for SSDI and SSI claims. Claims examiners at Oregon's DDS approve 46% of the applications for disability that they review. This approval rate is much higher than the national DDS approval rate, which is 38% in 2023.

If you want to talk about your claim with a claims examiner (for instance, to check the status of the claim), here is the agency's contact information.

Disability Determination Services
500 Summer St Ne # E12
Salem, OR 97301-1064
800-452-2147

How Do I Appeal a Denial by Oregon's DDS?

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) mails you a denial letter, if you disagree, you can appeal. You have to ask DDS for a reconsideration of the decision before you are allowed to get a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

In a reconsideration, a different claims examiner at DDS assesses your application. The average percentage of claims that DDS approves during reconsideration is 16%.

Where Are Disability Hearings Held in Oregon?

If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) is in charge of disability appeals at the ALJ hearing level.

Oregon has two hearing offices, in Portland and Eugene. If you filed your disability claim in Oregon at the Pendleton field office, however, your hearing will most likely be held at the Spokane, Washington hearing office.

At the two OHO offices located in Oregon, the average length of time a person filing a hearing request will have to wait for a hearing is 20 months.

About a dozen different ALJs work in the Oregon OHO offices, and each one has different approval and denial records. But on average, ALJs in Oregon approve around 66% of disability cases.

For more information about how hearings work, see our articles on ALJ hearings.

Disability Statistics in Oregon

Here's a comparison of approval rates in Oregon versus nationally; you have a better chance of being approved for benefits in Oregon, both at the initial application stage and at the appeal hearing.

Stage of Application

Oregon

Nationally

Initial Application

46%

38%

Reconsideration Review

16%

15%

Appeal Hearing

66%

57%

Hearing Wait Time

20 months

15 months


Source: ALJ Disposition Data Fiscal Year 2023 and Average Wait Time Until Hearing, June 2023 (Social Security).

Is Disability Income Taxable in Oregon?

Oregon exempts 100% of Social Security benefits and SSI benefits from a resident's tax liability. That means the state doesn't collect state income tax on SSDI or SSI payments. For people with higher incomes, the federal government will tax a portion of their SSDI benefits. But the IRS doesn't tax SSI benefits.

Hearing Office Locations in Oregon

If the local Social Security office you've been working with is in any of the following locations, you'll go to the Eugene hearing office:

  • Chiloquin
  • Christmas Valley
  • the I-5 corridor from Salem, OR to Weed, CA
  • Klamath Falls
  • La Pine
  • Lakeview
  • Madras
  • Medford
  • the Oregon Coast from Depoe Bay to Gold Beach
  • Prineville
  • Redmond, or Sisters.

Here's the contact information for the Office of Hearings Operations in Eugene:

Eugene Hearing Office
211 E. 7th Avenue, Suite 201
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Telephone: (866) 964-7044
Fax: (877) 714-3613

If the local Social Security office you've been working with is in Astoria, Beaverton, La Grande, the Portland metro area, The Dalles, or Salem, your hearing office is:

Portland Hearing Office
825 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 400
Portland, OR 97232-2483
Telephone: (866) 964-6291
Fax: (877) 714-3616

If you've been working with the Social Security office in Pendleton, your hearing office is:

Spokane Hearing Office
714 N Iron Bridge Way, Ste 200
Spokane, Washington 99202-4929
Telephone: (888) 253-3903
Fax: (877) 714-3615

Before your hearing, you may want to check for address and phone number changes using Social Security's hearing office locator.

How Much Do SSDI and SSI Recipients in Oregon Receive?

The average SSDI payment in Oregon is $1,541. The maximum amount of SSDI that someone can receive is $3,627 in 2023, but hardly anyone receives that amount.

As for SSI, Oregon no longer adds a state "supplementary payment" to the federal monthly SSI amount. So in 2023, the maximum amount SSI recipients can receive in Oregon is the SSI rate of $914 (or for couples, $1,371). But this amount is adjusted if you have additional income or if you receive free room and board. That's why the average SSI payment in Oregon is only $576.

What Is the Oregon Supplemental Income Program?

Once you qualify for SSI in Oregon, you automatically qualify for Medicaid, though you do have to file a separate application. In addition, if you're receiving SSI and fit into one of several "special needs" categories, you may be eligible for additional state payments.

These payments fall under a Medicaid program called OSIPM (Oregon Supplemental Income Program – Medical). OSPIM payments can assist you with things like limited home repairs to remove a physical hazard and costs of transportation to medical appointments.

SSI recipients are automatically qualified for OSIPM. Oregon's Department of Seniors and People with Disabilities administers the OSIPM program and is the agency that approves payments for these special needs.

If you have questions about applying for SSI in Oregon or about supplemental payments, you can contact the Seniors and People with Disabilities Division of DHS at:

DHS
500 Summer St. NE, E02
Salem 97301-1073
Telephone: (503) 945-5600
TTY: (503) 945-6214

General email: [email protected]

Does Oregon Have Vocational Rehabilitation Services?

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS) is part of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). OVRS assists people with disabilities with counseling, job training, placement, and assistive technology services. OVRS has offices throughout the state. For the OVRS office closest to you, visit the OVRS website.

Updated August 10, 2023

Other Sources:
Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021
Annual Statistical Supplement, 2022

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