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 insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal benefit programs, so the application process is the same in all states. But there is some information specific to applying for Social Security in Washington that you should know.
Washington Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state agency responsible for making decisions on Social Security disability claims filed in Washington.
A disability claims examiner at DDS, with the help of a medical consultant, makes the initial determination after gathering the patient's medical records. Approximately 40% of Washington's disability applicants are approved upon their initial application (based on applications in 2021-2022), which is slightly higher than the national average.
There are three DDS offices in Washington; contact information appears below.
Approximately three to five months after you apply for disability, you'll be notified via mail whether your claim has been approved or denied. If you are among those who are denied SSDI benefits, you can appeal this decision.
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 (or to start your appeal online). Read our article on starting a reconsideration for more information.
It will take an average of three to four months for your reconsideration decision to be made. In Washington, just 14% of disability claims are approved after reconsideration.
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 49% of Washington Social Security disability hearings result in the claimant (applicant) being awarded benefits.
Here are the approval and wait-time statistics for Washington from Social Security's 2021-2022 fiscal year, the most recent available.
|Stage of Process||
Initial Application Approval Rate
Reconsideration Approval Rate
Appeal Hearing Approval Rate
Average Hearing Wait Time
SSI is a federal program, so most of the monthly disability benefit is from the federal government. As of 2022, the maximum federal monthly payment for individuals who have no other income is $841; the payment for couples is $1,261 per month.
But if you live in Washington, you could be eligible for a small additional monthly payment from the state through the State Supplementary Payment Program. The Economic Services Administration of the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services pays $38.25 per month to SSI recipients who are:
A separate SSP program is administered by the DSHS Division of Developmental Disabilities. The amount of this SSI supplement varies depending on your living arrangements.
Washington has three DDS offices in Olympia, Seattle, and Spokane—you'll find their contact information below. You can also find more information on Washington's DDS website.
Capitol Boulevard South
Olympia, WA 98501
Tel: (800) 562-6074
Fax: (360) 586-0851
33810 Weyerhaeuser Way S, Suite 200
Federal Way, WA 98001
Tel: (800) 843-4440
Fax: (253) 661-5033
RockPointe III Building
1330 N. Washington Street, Suite 2080
Spokane, WA 99201
Tel: (800) 572-5299
Fax: (509) 329-3793
Social Security disability hearings for Washington residents are held at the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) locations, listed below. (The Portland OHO hears claims from the Longview and Vancouver Social Security field offices.)
Yesler Building, Suite 500
300 5th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104-3389
Tel: (888) 366-6144
Fax: (833) 656-0278
Services the following field offices: Bellevue, Bellingham, Everett, Kitsap, Lynnwood, Mt. Vernon, Port Angeles, Renton, Seattle (Metro, North), Wenatchee, and Yakima
714 N Iron Bridge Way, Suite 200
Spokane, Washington 99202-4929
Tel: (888) 253-3903
Fax: (833) 769-0245
Services the Kennewick (Tri-Cities), Pullman, Spokane, and Walla Walla field offices
2413 Pacific Avenue, Suite 200
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Tel: (888) 208-4640
Fax: (833) 953-2162
Services the following field offices: Centralia, Grays Harbor, Kent, Olympia, Puyallup, and Tacoma
825 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 400
Portland, OR 97232-2483
Tel: (866) 964-6291
Fax: (833) 719-0414
Services the Longview and Vancouver field offices
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 DVR can be reached at (800) 637-5627, or you can obtain more information on the DVR's website.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits and navigating the SSDI appeals process, an experienced SSDI lawyer can be a great help.
Updated May 31, 2022