Your Guide to Getting Washington Disability Benefits

Your Guide to Getting Washington Disability Benefits

You may qualify for Washington disability if health problems force you to stop working for at least one year. Two federal programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help:

  1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  2. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

You can apply for both programs at once because they use the same medical criteria to verify that you qualify.

We compiled this guide to help Washington State residents find disability benefits.

SSI for Washington Disability Applicants

SSI disability benefits help low-income Americans who are blind, disabled or over 65 and meet certain requirements. We collected everything residents from Camas to Colville need to know.

1. What Are the SSI Disability Financial Eligibility Requirements?

Washington State residents seeking SSI must meet these financial requirements:

  • Have total assets under $2,000. That includes money in the bank and items you could sell, like stocks and bonds, lottery tickets, etc. The home you own, your daily vehicle, your wedding ring and other daily living items don’t count toward the asset limit.
  • Have a monthly income below $1,350 each month from wages and/or other sources if you have a disability other than blindness, and $2,260 if you are blind. The SSA counts child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc., as “monthly income”.

Couples applying for disability must meet combined requirements. That means together you have less than $3,000 in assets and $2,607 for a couple in combined monthly income.

2. What Are the SSI Disability Age Requirements?

If you’re older than 65, you meet the age requirement. Younger Washington disability applicants must pass a Disability Determination Services (DDS) medical exam to establish eligibility. Tip: A Washington disability lawyer can pay expenses related to doctor visits and medical records requests when you can’t afford to.

3. How Much Does SSI Pay?

If your claim’s approved, you can expect to get as much as $841 for an individual or $1,261 for couples. From time to time, Congress approves a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) that could increase your benefit.  

4. How Long Can I Receive SSI Payments?

Washington disability recipients must pass a disability update every 3-7 years. For people over 65, monthly benefits continue as long as you meet the program’s financial requirements. Recipients under 65 deemed ineligible will stop getting benefits.

Does Washington State Pay Disability?

Yes, for some residents of the Evergreen State. The Washington State Supplementary Payment (SSP) covers people who qualify either for SSI cash benefits or Social Security Title II benefits as a disabled adult child and would be eligible for SSI if it were not for the receipt of these benefits – and who meet these SSP Pre-Vocational Legacy (PVL) requirements:

  • Be a client of DDA;
  • Have exited a DDA Prevocational employment service after September 1, 2015;
  • Not be enrolled in a DDA Prevocational Program;
  • Not be enrolled in a DDA Residential Habilitation Service such as Companion Home, Alternative Living, Supported Living, State-Operated Living Alternative (SOLA), Group Home, Foster Home, or Staff Residential;
  • Be eligible for or receive supplemental security income (SSI) cash assistance in the month in which the DDA/SSP Pre-Vocational Legacy is issued; or receive Social Security Title II benefits as a disabled adult child and would be eligible for SSI if they did not receive these benefits.

Because the eligibility criteria are complicated, it may make sense to work with a Washington disability attorney.

Related: Ohio Disability: Two Federal Programs Pay Monthly Benefits

SSDI for Washington Disability Applicants

SSDI is a federal disability insurance program funded by deductions from American workers’ paychecks. If you work full-time for an employer who withholds FICA or Social Security taxes, you’re covered. If your job doesn’t withhold FICA taxes, you aren’t eligible and should look at SSI benefits.

We gathered information on SSDI eligibility and payments for residents from Spokane to Seattle and all points in between.

1. Who’s Eligible for SSDI?

If you answer “yes” to every question below, you’re eligible to apply for SSDI benefits today:

  • Have you worked full-time for at least 5 of the last 10 years in jobs that withheld Social Security taxes? Eligibility lapses if you stop working for 60 months because you didn’t pay FICA taxes during that time.
  • Does your doctor expect your health issue to keep you out of work for at least 12 months? Your disabling condition must prevent you from working for at least a year or result in death. If you return to work in months or weeks, you aren’t eligible.
  • Have you seen a doctor in the last 90 days to treat your condition? If not, you need DDS to confirm your condition. Tip: A Washington disability lawyer can pay for doctor visits and medical records requests when you can’t.
  • Are you age 18-65 and not receiving any Social Security benefits? The SSDI program stops paying once you reach full retirement age since you begin getting regular Social Security benefits.

Did you have any “no” answers? Don’t worry. You might qualify for SSI.

2. How Long Does It Take to Get Your First SSDI Payment?

There’s usually a 5-month waiting period for benefits. That means Washington disability recipients could receive their first payments about 6 months after approval.

The SSA denies almost half of the people who apply due to basic paperwork mistakes. That’s why it pays to work with a Washington disability lawyer to file your claim, which almost triples your chances of approval. And since disability attorneys work on contingency, you won’t pay any legal fees unless you receive benefits.

Denied benefits? You still have 60 days to appeal in writing. Your first appeal is called a reconsideration and takes about 3.5 months to complete. If your reconsideration is denied, you can request an appeal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. That could take up to a year, and judges approve only 11% of appealed claims. If your case is successful, you may still wait almost 2 years for your first payment.

3. How Much Does SSDI Pay?

How much Washington disability recipients get depends on how much they earned while working. Payment equals 40% of your average monthly paycheck over a 35-year career. Disabled workers receive an average of $1,358 in monthly SSDI for 2022; the most you can get is $3,345 per month. To get SSDI payments higher than $3,000 a month, you must earn $139,000 annually for a decade before becoming disabled. You also may receive a higher payment if Congress approves a COLA increase.

4. How Long Can I Get SSDI Payments?

The SSA requires recipients to pass disability updates every 3-7 years until you reach full retirement age. After that, you get regular Social Security retirement benefits. Your monthly amount stays the same, and you don’t have to fill out any more paperwork.

Tip: Hiring a Washington disability lawyer can improve your chances of receiving benefits by almost 3x. A qualified Social Security attorney charges nothing if you don’t win, and only a small, one-time fee if you do.

Find out if you’re eligible for benefits. Click the button below to launch your free online benefits evaluation now!

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: