Administration of State Institutions

ORS 179.640
Determination of ability to pay

  • rules
  • financial information
  • notice
  • order
  • hearing
  • appeal


(a) The Department of Corrections and the Oregon Health Authority shall establish rules for determining ability to pay for persons in their respective institutions. The rules adopted by each agency shall require, in addition to other relevant factors, consideration of the personal estate, the person’s need for funds for personal support after release, and the availability of third-party benefits such as, but not limited to, Medicare or private insurance. Each agency may also consider the probable length of stay at the state institution. Nothing in this section requires the Department of Corrections to investigate a person’s ability to pay or to issue an ability-to-pay order.


When adopting rules under paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Department of Corrections shall consider the person’s needs for funds to pay for the support of the person’s children and to pay any monetary obligations imposed on the person as a result of the person’s conviction.


In determining a person’s ability to pay, none of the agencies may consider as part of the personal estate of the person or the decedent’s estate:


Any assets received by or owing to the person and the personal estate of the person, or the decedent’s estate, as compensation from the state for injury, death or, if the collection is being made by the Department of Corrections, the false imprisonment of the person that occurred when the person was in a state institution listed in ORS 179.321 (Responsibility to supervise state institutions) and for which the state admits liability or is found liable through adjudication; and


Any real or personal property that the person or an authorized representative of the person can demonstrate was purchased solely with assets referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection or partially with such assets, to the extent such assets were used in the purchase.


A person and the authorized representative of the person, if any, shall provide all financial information requested by the agency that is necessary to determine the person’s ability to pay. To determine ability to pay, the agency may use any information available to the agency, including information provided by the Department of Revenue from personal income tax returns pursuant to ORS 314.840 (Disclosure of information). Upon request, the Department of Revenue shall release copies of tax returns to the agency. When the person or the person’s authorized representative fails to provide evidence to demonstrate an inability to pay full cost of care, the agency may determine the person has the ability to pay the full cost of care.


The agency shall provide actual notice to the person and any authorized representative, if known to the agency, of its determination by issuing an ability-to-pay order. The order shall state the person’s full liability and the person’s determined ability to pay. Actual notice means receipt by the person and the authorized representative of notice. The notice shall include a copy of the ability-to-pay order, a description of the person’s appeal rights and the date upon which appeal rights terminate and state the address where a request for hearing may be mailed or delivered. At any time, the agency may reissue an ability-to-pay order to notify an authorized representative as provided by ORS 179.653 (Unpaid costs as lien on property) (4).


At any time during the person’s stay at the state institution or within 36 months from the date the person is released, if the agency receives new financial information that shows a change in the person’s financial circumstances, the agency shall consider the changed circumstances and issue a new ability-to-pay order.


Orders issued after the person is released may not require the person to make payments toward the cost of care for more than 36 consecutive months following release. However, the agency may collect beyond the 36-month period any payments that became due but were not paid within the 36 months following release. Any remaining balance of full cost of care shall be collected as provided in ORS 179.740 (Collection from estates).


Notwithstanding ORS 183.315 (Application of provisions of chapter to certain agencies) (5), if a person or authorized representative disagrees with any ability-to-pay order issued pursuant to this section, the person or authorized representative may request a contested case hearing. To the extent practical, the hearing will be held at a location convenient to the person or the authorized representative. The request must be postmarked within 60 days from the date of the mailing of the ability-to-pay order. If the person or the authorized representative makes a timely request for a contested case hearing, the hearing and any appeal of the final hearing order shall be governed by ORS 183.413 (Notice to parties before hearing of rights and procedure) to 183.497 (Awarding costs and attorney fees when finding for petitioner). If the person or the authorized representative fails to make a timely request for a contested case hearing, the ability-to-pay order shall be final and not subject to judicial review, except as subsequently modified by the agency as provided in subsection (5) of this section.


On appeal, regardless of other information presented, payment of the full cost of care may be ordered if the person or the authorized representative refuses to produce financial information that the Hearings Officer or administrative law judge determines is relevant and must be produced. [1959 c.652 §4; 1961 c.501 §2; 1967 c.549 §4; 1973 c.806 §3a; 1973 c.823 §§123,159; 1989 c.348 §3; 1997 c.170 §15; 1999 c.159 §2; 2001 c.487 §3; 2003 c.75 §86; 2009 c.595 §149; 2013 c.36 §59; 2015 c.348 §26]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Authority of Department of Revenue for access to confidential medical information to apply on behalf of patient under care of Mental Health Division for medical benefits, (1974) Vol 37, p 269; liability for cost of care of person in state institution, (1975) Vol 37, p 357

§§ 179.610 to 179.770

Notes of Decisions

Parents were not denied equal protection by requirement that they pay support pursuant to [former] ORS 419.513 for child placed in foster care, for foster home is not "state institution" for purposes of these sections. State ex rel Juvenile Department v. Rankin, 30 Or App 239, 566 P2d 1209 (1977)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Status of a responsible relative of a needy recipient when the responsible relative is also subject to payment of support for another relative in a state institution, (1973) Vol 36, p 608; release of patient's confidential case records, (1974) Vol 36, p 1080; authority of Department of Revenue for access to confidential medical information to apply on behalf of patient under care of Mental Health Division for medical benefits, (1974) Vol 37, p 269; Mental Health Division billing for prisoner-patients transferred from correctional institutions to state institutions for mentally ill for cost of care and treatment, (1981) Vol 41, p 365


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021