Filing an Application for Disability Benefits
How do you win disability benefits?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
Social Security Disability--Permanent Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Qualifying: What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability?
Applying for disability for Fibromyalgia
Filing for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability on the basis of Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Washington
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Claimants with representation in Washington tend to be approved in higher percentages, have a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) which can result in higher back pay benefits.
Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners.
A qualified representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedures, especially with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.
To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"
If you live in the state of Washington and are thinking of applying for social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, chances are you have never stopped to think of the fact that you are likely to have to appear before a federally appointed administrative judge. And yet, statistics from the Office of Disability Programs indicate that nearly 60 percent of all SSD and SSI disability claims filed in Washington state are denied. Nor are applicants who appeal the state disability examiner’s decision likely to see any financial relief; a staggering 84.9 percent of all request for reconsideration appeals or reviews are denied by the Washington state disability determination services as well.
If, like most disability claimants, you are turned down for benefits upon reconsideration, your best option is to file a second appeal, which will be heard, not by disability determination services, by a disability judge. You are strongly advised to seek legal counsel at this point—this is your best chance of winning benefits. Nationwide, about 40 percent of disability applicants who were denied benefits by a state disability examiner are awarded benefits when their case is heard before an administrative judge, but this number rises to over 60 percent when the claimants are represented by a disability attorney. An experienced disability lawyer will craft a strong case by examining your past claims and determining any weaknesses in the medical information provided that may have been used as a basis of your past denials. Your attorney may also be able to spot inconsistencies in the disability examiner’s decision and present those to the judge as well, all in a manner that meets the social security administration (SSA) criteria for disability. Your attorney may also be able to suggest additional medical tests or evaluations that may be needed to bolster your claim, submit any new medical evidence to the judge as well.
The one thing you do not want to do if your claim has been denied by disability determination services is to give up. The disability determination process is both long and frustrating for most, but if you reach the third level of consideration and have the chance to have your case heard before an administrative judge, your chances of winning are great, particularly if you retain a Washington disability lawyer to represent you in this proceeding.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Questions and Answers about Social Security Disability and SSI Disability
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims