Filing for Disability in Washington

In Washington, the application process is the same as in other states, but approval rates for Social Security disability claims are a bit higher than the national average.

By , Contributing Author
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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.

Who Makes Disability Determinations in Washington State?

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.

How Do I Appeal an SSDI Denial in Washington?

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.

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 (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.

Disability Hearings in Washington

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.

How Hard Is It to Get Disability in Washington State?

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

Washington

Nationally

Initial Application Approval Rate

40% approval

36% approval

Reconsideration Approval Rate

14% approval

13% approval

Appeal Hearing Approval Rate

49% approval

51% approval

Average Hearing Wait Time

11 months

10 months

How Much Is the SSI Disability Payment in Washington?

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:

  • 65 or older
  • blind, or
  • married to spouses who are ineligible for SSI.

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.

Where Are Washington's DDS Offices?

Washington has three DDS offices in Olympia, Seattle, and Spokaneyou'll find their contact information below. You can also find more information on Washington's DDS website.

Olympia DDS

Capitol Boulevard South
Olympia, WA 98501
Tel: (800) 562-6074
Fax: (360) 586-0851

Seattle DDS

33810 Weyerhaeuser Way S, Suite 200
Federal Way, WA 98001
Tel: (800) 843-4440
Fax: (253) 661-5033

Spokane DDS

RockPointe III Building
1330 N. Washington Street, Suite 2080
Spokane, WA 99201
Tel: (800) 572-5299
Fax: (509) 329-3793

Where Are the Social Security Hearing Offices (OHO) in Washington?

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.)

Seattle OHO

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

Spokane OHO

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

Tacoma OHO

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

Portland OHO

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

What Vocational Rehabilitation Services Are Available in Washington?

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.

How Can I Get Help with My Washington Disability Claim?

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

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