The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a tough process for filing for disability benefits. The majority of claims are denied in the initial stage (32.1% denied nationally, 32.2% denied in Oregon) and in the first reconsideration stage, which is handled by filling out a form and writing the reasons you believe the SSA should not have denied your claim (88.4% denied nationally, 88.3% denied in Oregon). The next stage is the hearing before an administrative law judge. Oregon has two SSA Hearing Offices, where ALJs hear disability appeals. These are located in Portland and Eugene.
Your hearing before an ALJ represents the only time during the Social Security disability claims and appeals process in which you will actually get to give your side of the story in front of another human being. Most believe that’s why most claims which are approved are approved at this stage. Oregon ALJs approve 56.3% of the claims which appear before them (compared to 57.8% nationally). You can expect to wait an average of 446 days before receiving a hearing before an ALJ in Oregon (compared with 350 days national average). Approval rates and wait times vary considerably between the Eugene and Portland offices. Oregon’s Hearing Offices’ approval rates and wait times look like this:
|Hearing Office||Approval Rate||Processing Time in Days|
There are 25 ALJs who handle all of the disability cases in Oregon. Fourteen of them hear appeals in Eugene, ten hear appeals in Portland, and one hears appeals in both offices. Administrative law judges are allowed more discretion in their decision making processes than any other SSA representatives. While this improves your chances of having your claim approved, it also makes it impossible to give advice which applies to every single ALJ. Local Social Security attorneys know the ALJs who hear appeals in their region. Knowing how an individual ALJ handles claims and what kind of evidence the ALJ is likely to be looking for gives their clients a distinct advantage in their hearings. Click on one of the cities below for more information on hiring an attorney or advocate in your area.
You can receive a free consultation with an Oregon Social Security lawyer in the area where your hearing will be held by filling out the form on this webpage. Your consultation is confidential and the decision of whether to continue with a lawyer’s services is yours alone. If you do, you will not be billed by your lawyer until after you are approved for Social Security benefits.