Filing for Disability in the District of Columbia: SSDI and SSI

D.C. approval rates for Social Security and SSI disability and SSI supplemental payments.

By , J.D. · University of Baltimore School of Law
Updated by Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney · UC Law San Francisco

Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs; however, the District of Columbia (D.C.) differs in the amount of SSI a person can receive and how long a claim takes to be decided.

How Do I Apply for and Get Disability Benefits in the District of Columbia?

You apply for disability benefits online or through a local Social Security field office. The District has a field office downtown (D St.), in Brentwood (9th St.), and in Anacostia (MLK Jr. Ave.)

At the field 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, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send your application to a claims examiner at the D.C.'s Disability Determination Division (DDD), a state agency, for a medical decision to be made on your records.

The Department on Disability Services administers D.C.'s Disability Determination Division. The contact information for DDD is:

Disability Determination Division
1125 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 730-1700

What Happens If My Disability Claim Is Denied?

If the claims examiner at D.C.'s DDD denies your claim, you can ask that it be reconsidered by a different claims examiner by filing a reconsideration request (this is the first level of appeal).

If your claim is denied again, you can request a hearing by filing a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge. The DDD will then send your claim to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), a branch of Social Security, where a judge will decide your case at a disability hearing.

Where Is D.C.'s Hearing Office?

The District of Columbia has one Social Security hearing office that services all of its field offices. Once you request a hearing, you should direct your questions to the hearing office. Here is its contact information:

DC Hearing Office (OHO)
1227 25th Street, NW
3rd floor
Washington, DC 20037

Phone: 866-414-6259
Fax: 833-949-2152

What Are the Disability Approval Statistics in D.C.?

The Disability Determination Division approved 30% of disability claims at the initial application level in 2022/2023. At the first level of appeal, the reconsideration, another 12% of claims were approved by the D.C. DDD.

After the second level of appeal, the hearing, D.C.'s administrative law judges (ALJs) awarded benefits in 55% of the appeals they heard. However, it took an average of 15 months from the time the request for hearing was filed to the date the case was decided by an ALJ.

D.C.

Nationally

Initial Application Approval

32%

39%

Reconsideration Approval

18%

15%

Hearing Approval

58%

45%

Hearing Wait Time

11 months

15 months


Source: ALJ Disposition Data Fiscal Year 2024 and Average Wait Time Until Hearing, February 2024 (Social Security).

How Much SSDI Will I Receive in D.C.?

The average SSDI payment in D.C. was $1,391 in 2022. But how much you receive in SSDI depends on the wages you made across your lifetime. Your payment can be up to about $3,800, but few people receive that amount. (And widows and disabled adult children receive less.)

Read more about how Social Security calculates your SSDI payment.

How Much SSI Will I Receive in D.C.?

For SSI, the maximum amount an individual can receive is $943 per month, and a couple can receive $1,415 per month (in 2024). These amounts are for individuals who have no countable income; most types of income can lower your monthly benefit. Receiving free or discounted room and board can also reduce your benefits. Because of these reductions, the average SSI payment in D.C. in 2023 was only $638.

D.C. provides a supplementary payment to the federal SSI payment, but only for people living in adult foster homes who are eligible for SSI. Adult foster care homes include Certified Residential Facilities (CRFs) and Adult Living Facilities (ALFs).

The amount of the supplement depends on the living situation of the recipient (but most of the money goes toward the foster home). Here are the numbers for 2024:

  • An individual adult living in an adult foster home with fewer than 50 beds will receive a combined (federal plus D.C.) SSI payment of $1,617.
  • A couple living in an adult foster home with fewer than 50 beds will receive a combined SSI payment of $3,119.
  • An individual adult living in an adult foster home with more than 50 beds will receive a combined (federal plus D.C.) of $1,727.
  • A couple living in an adult foster home with fewer than 50 beds will receive a combined (federal plus D.C.) of $3,339.

The supplemental payment is administered jointly by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the DC Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). You can apply at your SSA field office or the DHCF. Here is the contact information for the DHCF.

441 4th Street, NW, 900S,
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 442-5988
Fax: (202) 442-4790
Email: [email protected]

Is Disability Income Taxable in the District of Columbia?

D.C. exempts 100% of Social Security benefits and SSI benefits from a resident's tax liability. But that just means D.C. doesn't tax SSDI or SSI payments. For people with higher incomes, the federal government will tax a portion of their SSDI benefits (but not SSI benefits).

Does Washington, DC Provide Short-Term Disability?

While the District of Columbia doesn't have a program called "short-term disability" like some other states, DC's Paid Leave Act provides paid leave to employees for a serious health condition (or to take care of a family member with a serious health condition).

The maximum amount of leave you can be paid for is 12 weeks. The weekly payment depends on the wages you made when you were working, but the maximum is $1,118 per week (in 2024).

Employees are eligible if they have spent more than 50% of their time working in DC (including teleworking or telecommuting) for at least 12 months before needing to take time off. For more information, see our article on paid leave laws in the District of Columbia.

Does D.C. Have Resources to Help Me Return to Work?

D.C.'s Department on Disability Services offers assistance for disabled residents to help them become independent. This office provides vocational rehabilitation services, including specialized programs for visually impaired people designed to encourage entrepreneurship.

You can apply online on their voc rehab website or contact them using the information below:

Department on Disability Services
250 E Street, SW
Washington DC, 20024
Phone: (202) 730-1700
TTY: (202) 730-1516

Get More Information on Filing for Disability

If you'd like to find out more about getting disability and what to expect during the application process, check out these articles:

Updated May 2, 2024
Other Sources:
Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2022
Annual Statistical Supplement for SSI, 2023

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