If you suffer from an illness or injury that has forced you off the job at least temporarily, you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Filing a disability claim in Washington can be done in one of three ways, with the submission of convincing evidence representing the most important element of a filed claim.
As with other states, Social Security disability claims go through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Claims that come back denied can be appealed by following the same process established for each state.
Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits in Washington
As a safety net program managed at the federal level, the SSA makes Social Security disability benefits available to residents living in each of the 50 states. Washington residents have three ways to file a disability claim in Washington.
The first way is to call the toll-free number set by the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Washington has 24 field offices where you can file a claim, but you should note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, each office might be closed or operates on a limited schedule throughout the workweek.
Applying online at SSA.gov is the best option for filing a disability claim during the pandemic. Each filing option offers the same chance of approval for disability benefits in Washington.
Washington Disability Benefits Claim Statistics
During the pandemic, the number of video hearings has overwhelmed the number of in-person hearings. The legal procedure for each type of hearing remains the same. However, be prepared to answer questions online as opposed to answering them in person during a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Like every other state, more disability claims come back denied than approved in the State of Washington. At 64.5 percent, the disability application denial rate in Washington means a large majority of applicants have to go through the appeal process.
Since reconsideration claims process in the same manner as initial claims, it is not surprising to learn that a majority of reconsideration claims in Washington come back denied as well. The reconsideration denial rate in Washington is nearly 88 percent.
Reversing a Social Security Disability Denied Claim
Starting the Washington disability benefits appeal process involves filing for reconsideration with the SSA. As with the initial claim, a team of medical examiners at the SSA examines the appeal for reconsideration.
This means you must submit more persuasive evidence if you want the SSA to approve your appeal for reconsideration. Weak medical evidence is the most frequent reason why initial disability claims come back denied by the SSA.
Strong medical evidence should include the results of diagnostic tests, as well as your prognosis for making a full recovery that is submitted by your physician. Another reason why disability claims come back denied is because the claimant submitted an incomplete application.
To reverse a Social Security disability denied claim in Washington, you must file your appeal for reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the denial letter from the SSA. For both the original claim and the appeal for reconsideration, the team of medical examiners reviewing your claim refer to a guide called the Blue Book to determine whether you qualify for financial assistance.
With most appeals for reconsideration denied by the SSA, you might have to move onto the next step of the appeal process, which is making your case in front of an ALJ. Every ALJ hearing takes place at the Office of Disability Adjudication Review (ODAR). You can attend an ALJ hearing at one of two Washington ODARs. They can be found in Seattle and in Spokane.
Where you attend a denied disability in Washington hearing depends on where you live in the state. Residents that live in the western half of the state typically attend an ALJ hearing in Seattle, while residents living in the eastern half of the state attend their ALJ hearings in Spokane.
Getting Help Filing a Disability Claim in Washington
With the odds of approval for a Social Security disability claim stacked against you, the best strategy to improve your chances is to work with a Social Security lawyer. Your attorney can help you with filing an appeal for reconsideration, as well as prepare you for questioning at an ALJ hearing. Another benefit of hiring a Social Security attorney that they can keep track of the progress of your Social Security disability claim.
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