Filing for Disability in Washington
In Washington, your Social Security disability claim can be denied without a doctor ever looking at your file.
If you live in Washington, and are out of work due to illness or injury, you may be considering applying for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal benefit programs, but there is some information specific to applying for Social Security in Washington that you should know.
Appealing a Washington SSD Denial
Approximately three to four months after you apply for disability in Washington, you’ll be notified via mail whether your claim has been approved or denied. Only approximately 36% of Washington’s disability applicants are approved upon their initial application. If you are among those who are denied SSD benefits, you are able to appeal this decision.
Request for Reconsideration
The first appeal is called a “Request for Reconsideration.” You have 60 days from the date you receive your disability denial letter to submit the “Request for Reconsideration” form to the SSA. It will take an average of one to two months for your reconsideration decision to be made. In Washington, around 13% of disability claims are approved upon reconsideration.
Washington Disability Hearings
If your reconsideration results in a second disability denial, you can then request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). In Washington, the average wait between the date a disability hearing is requested and when it takes place is 11 months. You’ll be notified of the judge’s decision within 30 days of your hearing. Around 60% of Washington Social Security disability hearings result in the claimant being awarded benefits.
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Hearing Wait Time
Washington SSI Supplement
If you receive SSI and live in Washington, you are eligible for a small additional monthly payment from the state. The amount of this SSI supplement varies depending on your living arrangements. In 2012, someone who receives SSI in Washington and lives independently, in someone else’s household, or in a group home, would receive $46.00 per month. SSI recipients residing in a Medicaid facility would receive $27.28. In certain “special needs circumstances,” the state of Washington will also pay for an SSI recipient’s utilities, meals, or other services.
Washington Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state agency responsible for making decisions on Social Security disability claims filed in Washington. In most states, DDS claims examiners work with medical professionals to make disability decisions. However, Washington is currently taking part in a test of the “single-decision maker” model as part of the Disability Redesign Project. In this model, a claims examiner can make a decision on a disability claim without consulting a physician or psychologist.
There are Washington DDS offices in Olympia, Seattle, and Spokane – you’ll find their contact information below. You can also find more information on the Washington DDS website.
P.O. Box 9303
Olympia, WA 98507
Fax: (360) 586-0851
1516 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Fax: (206) 389-3083
RockPointe III Building
1330 N. Washington Street
Spokane, WA 99201
Fax: (509) 329-3822
Social Security disability hearings for Washington residents are held at the Office of Disability Adjudication & Review office locations. Washington disability hearings are held at one of four ODAR locations, listed below.
Robert Duncan Plaza, 4th Floor
333 SW 1ST Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204
Fax: (503) 326-3062
300 5th Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98104-3389
Fax: (206) 615-3731
714 N Iron Bridge Way, Ste 200
Spokane, Washington 99202-4929
Fax: (509) 353-2986
2413 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Fax: (253) 272-0143
Washington Vocational Rehabilitation
Disabled workers in Washington can contact the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to access a variety of programs designed to help those with disabilities return to and maintain employment. The Washington VRS can be reached at 800-637-5637, and you can obtain more information or contact the DVR on DVR website.
Finding Help With Your Washington Disability Claim
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits and navigating the SSD appeals process, an experienced Washington SSD lawyer can be a great help. Whether you’re considering applying for disability or already have a disability claim, our lawyer locator can assist you in finding a skilled Washington disability attorney near you.
by: Alison Barjaktarovich, Contributing Author