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Washington disability benefits

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Washington

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 29, 2024  ·  1 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard-trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience and has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

If you live in Washington state and are unable to work due to a disability, you may be eligible for federal disability benefits. More than 300,000 Washingtonians currently receive disability assistance through programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Read on to learn everything you need to know about disability benefits in the Evergreen State, from eligibility criteria to the application process.


Disability benefits in Washington

While Washington does not offer a state-specific disability program, there are several federal and private options available to you.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI provides financial assistance and Medicare to individuals unable to work due to long-term disabilities. To qualify, you must have a sufficient work history and have paid into Social Security through payroll taxes — typically for five of the last 10 years. In Washington, the average monthly SSDI payout is $1,798. 

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you have limited income and resources, you may be eligible for SSI, which offers monthly payments to help cover basic needs. SSI also includes Medicaid coverage to assist with medical expenses. The average monthly SSI payment in Washington is $624. 

  • Veteran disability benefits: Veterans who suffer from disabilities due to their military service may qualify for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

  • Private disability insurance: If you have private disability insurance — either through your employer or purchased on your own — you can access benefits through this coverage. These plans provide short-term or long-term financial support depending on policy details.

  • Workers' compensation: If your disability is due to a workplace injury or illness, you may be able to access workers’ comp benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses and lost wages that are a result of work-related injuries.

We've helped 4,241 people in Washington with disability benefits.

Should I apply for disability in Washington?

Disability benefits are available to anyone who meets certain qualifications. Before you apply, there are several factors to consider:

  • Medical eligibility: In order to receive SSI or SSDI benefits in Washington, your medical condition must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. Your disability has to significantly limit your ability to perform basic work activities and be expected to last at least one year or result in death.

  • Work history requirements for SSDI: SSDI is for anyone who has a work history and has paid into Social Security through payroll taxes. You need to have sufficient "work credits," which are earned by working and paying Social Security taxes for at least five of the last 10 years. Learn more about how work credits are accrued.

  • Financial criteria for SSI: If your work history does not meet the requirements for SSDI, or if you have never been able to work, SSI might be the best option for you. It’s aimed at helping individuals with limited income and assets. The SSA will assess your financial situation to make sure you fall within the set limits for income and resources.


How to apply for disability in Washington

There are several ways to apply for disability benefits in Washington. These include:

  • Online: You can apply for both SSDI and SSI benefits online. Visit the Social Security Administration's website at SSA.gov to get started.

  • Phone: If you prefer to speak to someone, you can call the Social Security Administration directly. By applying over the phone, you can ask questions and get immediate answers as you fill out the application.

  • In person: You can also apply in person at your local Social Security office. Be sure to make an appointment to reduce your wait time.

Understanding the Application Process

The process of applying for disability benefits includes several stages:

  • Initial application: Start by completing the required forms, including Form SSA-16 for SSDI and the SSI application form for SSI benefits. Submit these along with any medical and work history documentation you can provide. Incomplete or inaccurate applications are common reasons for denial, so be as thorough as possible. 20% of disability applications are approved at this stage.

  • Reconsideration: Initial applications are often denied, but you can request a reconsideration within 60 days. A different set of eyes at the SSA will complete a new review of your application. 10% of applications are approved at the reconsideration stage.

  • Hearing: If reconsideration does not result in approval, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. During a hearing, you will have a chance to argue your case. 83% of applicants have some legal representation by this stage.


SSA offices in Washington

The easiest way to apply for disability benefits is online. But you can also do it in person at your local SSA office or contact them if you have questions. Across Washington, SSA offices are staffed by knowledgeable workers who can provide assistance and help streamline the application process.

Bellevue

636 120th Ave NE Ste 100

Bellevue, WA 98005

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 574-2323

Fax Number: (833) 912-2340

Bellingham

710 Alabama St 

Bellingham, WA 98225

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 256-6906

Fax Number: (833) 950-2612

Burien

151 SW 156th St 

Burien, WA 98166

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-7380

Fax Number: (833) 950-3236

Centralia

1821 Cooks Hill Rd Ste 100

Centralia, WA 98531

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 848-7942

Fax Number: (833) 950-3555

College Place

880 NE Rose St 

College Place, WA 99324

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 366-7814

Fax Number: (833) 950-2622

Everett

3809 Broadway 

Everett, WA 98201

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 563-4595

Fax Number: (833) 950-2616

Hoquiam

820 Simpson Ave 

Hoquiam, WA 98550

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 634-4197

Fax Number: (833) 950-2614

Kennewick

8131 W Klamath Ct Ste A

Kennewick, WA 99336

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 269-6671

Fax Number: (833) 950-2626

You can find a full list of SSA offices in Washington here.


Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability benefits in Washington?

While the SSA does not require you to work with legal representation when applying for benefits, an experienced disability lawyer can significantly improve your chances of approval. Applicants with lawyers are three times more likely to win benefits than those without. Here’s how a disability lawyer can assist you:

  • Completing applications: A lawyer will help ensure that your disability application is complete and accurately reflects your situation, reducing the likelihood of initial rejection.

  • Collecting medical evidence: Gathering the necessary medical records to support your disability claim is critical. A lawyer will assist in compiling and organizing evidence of your disability.

  • Filing appeals: If your initial application is denied, a disability lawyer will help you file an appeal and prepare for the reconsideration process.

  • Representation at hearings: In the event your case goes to a hearing, a lawyer will represent you in front of an administrative law judge and present your case in the most effective way possible.

Hire a top disability lawyer in Washington

Get help applying for disability benefits in Washington

Applying for disability benefits in Washington can feel complex and overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. Start by taking our 2-minute quiz to determine your eligibility for benefits. A team member from Atticus will reach out with guidance about your case.

We can connect you with experienced disability lawyers who can help you navigate the SSDI and SSI application processes. When you work with Atticus, there are no upfront costs — you only pay your lawyer a one-time fee when they win your disability case.

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Washington

How do I qualify for disability in Washington?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Washington?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Washington?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Washington. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Washington?

The average SSDI payment in Washington is $1,371.51 per month. The average SSI payment is $638.93 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Washington?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Washington have a state disability program?

No, Washington doesn't have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Washington can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources:

Washington Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

SSA Offices in Washington

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By Jackie Jakab

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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