Spokane, Washington ODAR Office

At the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Spokane, Washington, 7 different administrative law judges (ALJ) conduct Social Security Disability (SSD) hearings and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hearings. Currently, in Spokane, the average wait time for a SSI or SSD hearing is 16.0 months. The average case processing time in Spokane is 532 days.The Spokane average for winning a SSI or SSD disibility hearing is 50%. Click on the name of one of the ALJs below to see detailed information about their hearing results. This information for the Spokane ODAR office was last updated on 3/11/2015.

SSA, Spokane ODAR Office
714 N Iron Bridge Way, Ste 200
Spokane, Washington 99202-4929
View Map
Phone: (509) 353-2982 -- Fax: (509) 353-2986
eFile Fax: (877) 714-3615 (For sending evidence)

OfficeJudgesAvg. Hearing
Wait Time
Average
Processing Time
Dispositions
Per Day Per ALJ
Cases
Dismissed
Cases
Approved
Cases
Denied
Spokane 7 16.0 months 532 days 1.7 19% 50% 31%
Washington12.7 months439 days1.623%40%36%
National Average:12.8 months432 days2.018%44%38%
Hearing Wait Time: 16.00 months
Dispositions Per Day Per ALJ 1.73
Average Processing Time 532 days
Cases Pending 6198
Dispositions 882
New Cases 1178
Hearings In Person 72%
Video Hearings 28%
Full NameDismissedApprovedDenied
Judge Moira Ausems 15%58%26%
Judge Lori L Freund 17%45%38%
Judge Marie Palachuk 18%38%44%
Judge R. J Payne 18%51%31%
Judge Jesse K Shumway 20%55%25%
Judge Caroline Siderius 24%56%20%
Judge Donna L Walker 18%53%29%

Comments about Judges at the Spokane Washington ODAR office:

To leave your own comment, select a judge from the list above and leave a comment on that judge's page.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 3/24/2015 2:18:34 PM
Submited By: Jim



Obviously ALJ Laura Valente gets her medical knowledge from watching the DVR's of Dr. Phil & Dr. Oz. They just threw out her decision in my case for the third time in nine years. She has zero knowledge of mental disorders. Instead of doing a little research she thinks all she has to do is look at you & she can tell if you have anything wrong with you. They should put her in the criminal court system as she only takes ten seconds to arrive at a decision. The first time I walked into her court & before she turned on the recorder she said 'I can tell by looking at you that you are not depressed or suicidal. These ALJ's get their jobs by knowing someone or as a political favor. They don't get them based on intelligence or education.

Judge: R. J Payne
Date Posted: 3/20/2015 5:24:04 PM
Submited By: SANDRA SCHMAUS



judge payne issued an order of dismissal of my request for an alj hearing appeal because it was filed late. i filed all my appeals for each level of appeal late due to narcolepsy cataplexy i suffer from. when i read the decision of denial made on june 20 2014, i lost it i got extremely emotional and extreme emotion is a trigger for the cataplexy then it throws me into sleep attacks due to narcolepsy. my decline was so severe that i now have a personal care provider. i do not understand what was so different this time when i filed the alj appeal late, when i filed my alj appeal years ago it was late to but i still got to go to the alj hearing. my past late filings showed that i was not able to file on time and it was not a problem then, but with alj payne it was a problem so he dismissed my claim. that means years of appeals and protential back gone if he does not vacate this dismissal. and my work credits insured dates ran out end of 2014 which is what i qualify with. alj payne said in my past appeals i filed on time and that i should have been able to this time which is not true. i do not believe he read the file, if he had read it he would have not used that as a reason to dismaiss because it is not true. look at the history. we filed a motion to vacate the dismissal and ssa still has not sent it to him. we shall see. I AM NOT AFRAID TO SAY MY NAME IS SANDRA SCHMAUS I WANT THESE PEOPLE TO HEAR MY STORY AND MY QUESTIONS. and i want you alj payne to know i do not understand how you can base your decision to dismiss my appeal on my ability to file on time in the past when that is not the case as outlined with dates in my motion to vacate the dismissal. i cant afford to do this whole process over again because you did not base your decision on the facts of my past appeals. so please look at those dates and base your decision of the motion to vacate your order of dimissal on the facts that are in my file, thank you for your time your honor.

Judge: Caroline Siderius
Date Posted: 3/17/2015 10:42:02 AM
Submited By:



judge Siderius was very nice, respectful and genuine. Thank you judge siderius. and I would recommend her. she takes all medical evidence into considartion.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 3/5/2015 12:29:43 PM
Submited By: BigAL



I had judge Paul Hebda over my case twice. The first time he denied. He ignored medical evidence such A physical capacity report and a letter from my treating doctor then I had to go through the appeals council and won and had a second hearing with him again where I had new medical issues. Where he ignored medical evidence again in my case and denied me a second time. He's the kind a judge that pretty much makes a decision before your hearing even begins and has prejudice against disability cases. I advise you if you have a physical capacity report saying you cannot work and your doctor writes a letter saying you cannot work and he ignores your evidence and denied you go to the bar association with your paperwork and file complaints against him because this judge needs to be removed from office!!!!!

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 12/30/2014 7:06:38 AM
Submited By: Sheldon Shaw



I am a 53 year old man with crohns disease. I was formerly approved for SSDI and attempted to recur to my job as a civil engineer. I had a few jobs at various companies, all of which i was let go due to absenteeism ( I was still sick). I hired Premier Disability (Thomas Klint - Attorney) of St. Paul Minnesota. Premier was attentive to my needs initially. Several changes in Staff at Premier occurred and the service got worse and worse. Premier hired a contract attorney to represent me at the hearing. Judge Hebda expressed his displeasure with the way my case was presented in the paperwork by Premier and spoke about his dislike for Klint and his work. My Contract Attorney, Casey Cox, had only had my case file for a few days prior to the hearing, but somehow managed to convince the judge to give a "fully favorable" ruling. Judge Hebda filed a request to the Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge to reduce or eliminate the fees to Premier and Klint because the "inadequately represented" me. This caused some delay in processing my case but I was thoroughly impressed by the judge himself advocating for me. If you live in The Pacific Northwest I recommend my contract attorney, Mr. Casey Cox, whole-heartedly. STAY AWAY FROM PREMIER DISABILITY. Thanks Judge Hebda!

Judge: Marilyn S. Mauer
Date Posted: 7/8/2014 2:02:56 PM
Submited By:



Good luck with her! She's an absolute witch and is by far the most unreasonable ALJ in the entire country. She will do all she can to antagonize your client and criticize everyone at the hearing, including the vocational expert and the hearing reporter. She is a nightmare to work with and ODAR would do well to get rid of her.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 6/12/2014 1:25:36 PM
Submited By: A Little Mouse



I had an experience with Paul Hebda. ;) I ended up filing a complaint against him for chauvinistic comments at my first hearing. After my complaint was submitted my case was then swiftly sent to Spokane Washington for review and it was approved. My lawyer then took me out of $30,000 and he had his license suspended for hurting several other disability claimants last year. I’m in the process of suing my lawyer which will be starting very soon. After Paul Hebda denied my claim- I was forced to go back to my job, where I put up with sexual harassment from a dirty old elderly man. In part due to the duress the denial created in my life- I had a back injury that injured my Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar Spine. I will probably be on disability for the rest of my life, even after I recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Social Security Administration is probably one of the most poorly organized and unjust systems in the United States. It rates right up there with the negligence and abuse of our Veterans. Every day that I wake up and cannot bend or move, and I’m in pain... I remember Paul Hebda. These Judges get paid well and in order to look like they are doing their jobs- they deny claims, many of which should not be denied. When Paul Hebda looked at me and asked me if “I could cook”… I knew instantly that he was choosing me to meet his “quota” for denials, and that there was no hope for me at that time. I will spend the rest of my life in physical pain. My life will never be the same; and Paul Hebda will still have his retirement and benefits in the end. That’s all this is really about to these Judges. Hopefully my lawsuit against my lawyer will be won. I plan to raise a lot of concerns to our Congressmen to raise the issue that Social Security needs to be reformed “again.” The government went to providing benefits to almost everyone who applied instantly, to murdering its citizens. An estimated 10-15,000 deaths occur each decade to people waiting, who may have been saved had their benefits been approved from my understanding. The government saves so much money on the deaths of our veterans, and the disabled by torture. They also save money on the deaths of our disability claimants, who may have lived had their disability claims been approved sooner. It took twelve months for a man in my hometown to get disability. He was sleeping in a tent in a remote area due to being homeless. He almost lost his foot due to a spider bite, and he did not have the knowledge or the transportation to go receive health care. My friend took him all her camping supplies, and drove him to several doctors’ appointments, and helped him get food. She wrote to a congressman to help the man get his claim approved sooner, but it still took twelve months. He almost died. There are worse places to live. BUT This country has a long way to go before it will ever be a place that measures up to what it dictates. Thank you!!! ALJ Paul Hebda! AND God Bless America!!!! I pray that Karma comes around to those who are responsible for human suffering. Sometimes that’s all we can do…

Judge: Lori L Freund
Date Posted: 5/1/2014 9:28:30 PM
Submited By: Tami



I was in Judge Freund's court with my attorney last year and she was very kind and compassionate. She was very fair and professional. I want to thank her for being so patient and treating. Me with dignity.

Judge: Marilyn S. Mauer
Date Posted: 3/29/2014 10:21:31 AM
Submited By:



Unfavorable for me but made mistakes, so lots of opportunity for an appeal and a reversal.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 3/20/2014 4:02:27 PM
Submited By:



Judge Hebda is, essentially, an idiot. Of all the judges, he is probably among the top 5 worst, if the worst overall. His rationale in the written decisions are filled with contradictions, hypocrisy, improper application of the regs/rulings, ignorant of relevant medical records, giving great weight to false information, mischaracterizing (lying about) important evidence, and written as if by a high schooler. In the hearing he's always harping about tiny issues, yelling at reps and claimants alike, as well as holding hearings that go for hours long. He'll complain and complain about the cases before him and if he makes a mistake, he'll blame anyone but himself. And, if you make a mistake, he'll slam you for it long after the hearing is done or the case has moved on. He tends to forget or not know fundamental parts of the disability process, such as case law, rulings on DAA, and even changes to the regulations themselves. He's not a fair judge, nor honest, and definitely not smart either. If you get him, try to find a way out of it, even if that manes dropping your case altogether. Trust me, one hearing with him, and you'll spend the next 2-5 years trying to untangle the damage he'll do to your case.

Judge: David J DeLaittre
Date Posted: 2/27/2014 9:04:31 PM
Submited By: Brenda Mccormick



A very kind, caring and knowledgeable Judge.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 2/7/2014 5:17:16 AM
Submited By: Mike



I got Judge Laura Valente for an SSD hearing a few months ago. She was an absolute monster in the courtroom - she disregarded every single piece of evidence that validated my disability to cherry pick what fit her motive to deny me. She was abusive, condescending, and did everything possible to pigeon hole me instead of looking at my case objectively. She attacked me for being a Medical Marijuana cardholder and asked several times how I could guarantee my medicine wasn't "Dipped in PCP". The court even refused to let my witnesses in, 3 of my family members who had come on my behalf because "there isn't enough room" in the small 2 person conference room they held the hearing in via video conference. There are even signs up in the lobby area where you wait, after you clear security, that says "No witnesses allowed in courtroom". Yet I received a letter saying I could bring any witnesses pertinent to my case - wouldn't you think my family, the people who take care of me and support me, would have something pertinent to say about my case? That is just the tip of the iceberg. Judge Valente is anything but objective and will do anything possible to attack you to make a case for denial. I will be submitting an ethics complaint through the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct here shortly. Complaint forms are on their website and I highly suggest that if you have experienced what you believe to be misconduct by Judge Laura Valente that you report it. I went looking for help and all I got was beat up even more.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 9/22/2013 11:42:56 PM
Submited By: Jim



If you get Judge Valente move to another state as FAST as you can!

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 8/29/2013 5:24:30 PM
Submited By:



It has been my personal experience and only my opinion that the Judge is out of control. He is angry, short tempered and, as other comments allude to, he makes too many "mistakes". I have to wonder if the gross concentration of errors in my case are actual "mistakes", especially after reading about other cases. Additionally, we applicants are held to the fire for mistakes, but he is not held liable for his mistakes that have ruined our lives (applicants). Another concern of mine is the low benefits approval rating (accuracy unknown) shown on the internet. Furthermore, how can he dismiss a neurologist's findings mentioned in one comment within this site. I never received the report from a psych. hired by SSA. Later, I found the report was in my favor. My suggestion to you all is to go to your senator's, not just the democratic side, but the republicans and independents, file a complaint, be concise about issues with the judge and the SSA. I have done that and, one office is helping me. The Senator said, "I don't know why I have to handle their (the SSA) issues, so the senator is not thrilled with the organization. If we don't squeak, we wont get the grease we need.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 7/3/2013 12:22:56 PM
Submited By:



I'm an attorney and I've never been in front of a more openly hostile judge, ever.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 6/29/2013 6:09:10 AM
Submited By:



Can I give negative stars? I was on a remand like no way. I found he/she described Valente very well. She threw out all evidence that helped me. There were two main things I feel that qualifies me & in both appearances she never ask me a single question about either one of them. She is arrogant & ignorant which is a bad combination for a judge. She said by looking at me she could tell I was not depressed or suicidal. That is a great talent. She also questioned one of my prescriptions saying no doctor would give me that drug in my condition. The prescription was out in my car. Every question she ask me she said I was a liar. The latest doctor report I turned in to the court Valente accused me of bribery or coercion of the doctor.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 6/14/2013 7:06:20 PM
Submited By:



I am the one who posted on Paul T. Hebda on 4/17/2013. I received a partially favorable decision around June 10th, 2013. Despite not agreeing with his ruling, I would have to say that I still like him as a judge. I have some disagreements in his decision and found at some points that there were contradictions in his statements and even some wrong information in what is written. I have not decided if I am going to appeal his decision or not. Will give myself the weekend to hopefully get a better grip on if I have a chance at an appeal to his decision. According to the partially favorable, my onset date was moved one year ahead, basically not giving me any back pay at all. I truly feel my disability was a strong case before his new onset date. I appreciate his decision, but I think I will chance taking it to appeals. I don't have much going for me in life and I feel I really don't have anything to lose. I am pretty much at my lowest so there is no where to go but up.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 6/8/2013 1:23:52 AM
Submited By: no way 2



I agree with no way. If you draw ALJ Valente you have my sympathy.

Judge: Caroline Siderius
Date Posted: 4/19/2013 10:18:20 PM
Submited By: Kenneth Alan Hughes



I have had this ALJ two times in seperate Fair-Right Hearings and both times she has denied me of my Benefits which I do not agree with the way she looks at her cases along with the choice of words that she used in her decision letters. I would not choose to ever see this What you want to call an Administrative Law Judge and wouldn't recommend this judge to handle other peoples cases. I am unhappy with her performance

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 4/17/2013 6:02:52 PM
Submited By:



I had my hearing with Hebda a while back. I have not recieved a decision yet, but I found him to be very kind, patient and aware of how hard it was for me to come before a judge in my hearing. I felt like he had some compassion and that made me a little more comfortable and the whole hearing bareable. I was sent to a doctor for a Mental Status Exam after my hearing and had a very favorable report from that doctor. I await Hebda's decision now.

Judge: David J DeLaittre
Date Posted: 4/12/2013 8:05:41 AM
Submited By:



Judge means well, however, in the end he still has no control over disability. They don't care what he does or says. Federal judges have the final say, I don't think so. Very disappointed, his failure to stand his ground or hold his authority, whatever, cost us everything.

Judge: Paul Gaughen
Date Posted: 4/2/2013 8:57:28 AM
Submited By: guest



as i said above, on 3/18 this judge seized upon my twice-weekly alcohol use, and called it "abuse". this led him to negate all my medical records, saying i could function without "alcohol abuse" (2 times weekly) if this guy wants to deny your claim to keep his NHC ratios in order, he will find a way.

Judge: Paul Gaughen
Date Posted: 3/29/2013 8:11:36 AM
Submited By:



Very pleasant judge. Knows when he has to do a fully developed hearing and also when he doesn't. Likes to cut to the chase on clearly solid cases.

Judge: Paul Gaughen
Date Posted: 3/18/2013 2:22:07 PM
Submited By:



i dont know how my hearing will be decided, but he was very even-tempered and unimposing. i was worried, but he seems very fair.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 1/13/2013 8:27:09 PM
Submited By: DISABLED



WHEN HE GAVE ME MY FINALE DECISION WHICH WAS UNFAVORABLE I JUST DONT KNOW WHAT TO FEEL ANYMORE BECAUSE THE FIRST JUDGE DENIED ME THEN I APPEALED NOW THIS DECISION. I JUST DONT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO BUT JUST KEEP ON APPEALING AND APPEALING UNTIL A JUDGE FINALLY SEE THAT IAM DISABLED AND I HAVE DOCUMENTATIONS FROM ALL EXPERTS STATING MY CONDITIONS. SO FOR THOSE WHO GOT DENIED OR UNFAVORABLE DECISION DONT GIVE UP JUST KEEP ON GOING BECAUSE YOU DESERVE EVERY PENNY.

Judge: Marilyn S. Mauer
Date Posted: 12/5/2012 10:35:29 PM
Submited By:



Very efficient, kind. Granted my client a favorable OTR. However, I find the clerks in this ODAR a bit disorganized.

Judge: Moira Ausems
Date Posted: 12/5/2012 10:32:36 PM
Submited By:



I flew to Spokane in the middle of winter to represent a client before Judge Ausems a few years ago. Unfortunately, the weather worsened and I was actually stranded at the Spokane airport in the middle of a blizzard. I called ODAR to inform the clerk and ALJ Ausems was very kind, understanding, and even arranged for me to participate in the hearing via phone from my hotel room.

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 10/25/2012 4:21:34 PM
Submited By: ra



I just met with this judge and at first she was rough but after i broke down, she became sympathetic and also allowed me to speak freely and get off track to get my point across. I found her to be very polite butt to the books. No neg feedback in my case

Judge: Laura Valente
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 8:31:52 PM
Submited By: no way



She is aggressive, hostile and I felt VERY harassed by her while under going my ssdi claim. There was no compassion or empathy, nor even an attempt at understanding my situation. Her only care was to get more information to justify her original denial of my claim and to work her way around the around the civil courts remand decision.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 5:40:56 PM
Submited By: T. Lamb



I think Judge Hebda is not particularly objective in his decision making process. He Claimed I worked during 2011, which is not true. He also felt like the evaluation the Neurologist performed carried no weight because the neurologist has only seen me one time, yet hypocritically sited over and over physicians who only saw me once and avoided being too descriptive of my injuries and illnesses to protect the Veterans Administration. It would be difficult for me to form an objective review of Judge Hebda. In court he was pleasant and things were done quickly. But he denied my claim and his reasoning for denial is not consistent with his reasons for acceptance. Judges who have double standards are not good judges in my opinion. The whole idea of going before a judge is so a reasonable person can make a decisions without a predisposition for denial.

Judge: Wynne O'Brien-Persons
Date Posted: 6/27/2012 7:14:05 AM
Submited By:



When I went into my hearing with Judge Wynne O'brien Perdons I was happy to hear that I was going before a new judge. I have never in my life been before any type of judge or any law enforcement, so to hear she was new put me a little at ease, since this whole disability world is new to me. God knows, I would much rather be able to work then go through all of the chronic pain and suffering that I go through every single day and every night, as I am sure many other people out there who are truly disabled would agree. Looking back at the day of my hearing I was so nervous I couldn't think straight. For me; It was like going to a doctor and having so many questions for them, and wanting to tell them all of the things that I battled physically during the month, but my mind goes completly blank at that presice moment of course. When leaving my appointment all of the questions I wanted to ask comes back to me like a flood, and I would think to myself "I forgot to tell him/her this or that". Unfortuntely, my case was denied, I think because of my own testimony and other reasons. When my hearing was over and I walked out the door, all of things I wanted to tell her came back like a flood, and all I wanted to do was go back in there and cry out for mercy because the pain I am in all the time, and I know I cant work, but I didn't. After reading her desision all I did was cry for days. I felt her jugement of me was so unfair because things were taken out of content, and I truly have alot of pain, how can chronic pain even be measured? I have worked hard all of my life, until I finally had to admit to myself that I am disabled. This was a very hard thing for me to come to terms with. After reading some of the reviews regarding the other judges, I was glad that I went before Judge Wynne O'brien Persons. Best of luck to all of the people who are truly disabled, but were denied.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 6/15/2012 9:48:06 PM
Submited By: Milton Brabb



I went before Judge Hebda he denined me due process holding my benefits back to get me a payee for know aparent reason,,He stated i abuse marijuana and because of it i need a payee,TWO doctors in there reports stated i was able to receive benefits both were not mentioned in his report,,yet the same report was used to award me fully disabled,I told him I had PTSD and needed my wife with me during my hearing and he said no.I stood before him in fear because of it,yet it states i could have her with me in the booklet i received,,he denied me my rights and then discriminated against me my judgement date was april 2nd to date im still fighting to regain my pride and benefits and my family of 3 kids are suffering This judges actions were shameful when i went through everything the state asked to get judgement then have it delayed over my Legal marijuana use Permit # available..im a 52yr old disabled vet married 28 years, in alaska since 79 why treat me this way Judge??????

Judge: Moira Ausems
Date Posted: 6/2/2012 2:27:06 PM
Submited By: Wade Sanders



I received a denial for a hearing from Judge Ausems in 2010. In her denial Ausems wrote that I could request that she vacate or set aside her decision if I appealed to her within 10 days. I wrote to her and appealed to her to set aside her decision and submitted my request within the ten day period. I am still waiting to hear back from Judge Ausems. When my representatives went to the ODAR office in Spokane on my behalf to talk with Judge Ausems, Judge Ausems refused to speak with them and they were ordered out of the office at gunpoint by security.

Judge: Paul T Hebda
Date Posted: 5/30/2012 1:41:16 PM
Submited By:



I went before Judge Hebda last Oct. and was denined my Dissability Claim. I then appealed, again. At the same time, I atempted to hire a lawyer. After several months the lawyer sent me a letter stating part of the reason he chose not to take my case is that Judge Hebda is flat-out a lier, and that he misleads the claimant, and that his mind is made up befores he hears your testimony. Among other comments/statements about this particular Judge. How do I get a fair hearing???