While the 36.1% approval rate for initial Social Security disability claims in Washington is slightly higher than the national average (32.1%), claimants still face an uphill battle to receive disability benefits. More than two out of every three claims in initially denied. Of these, 87.4% can expect to be denied during the first reconsideration as well. Fortunately, claimants still have options. The next step is a hearing before an administrative law judge, where the chances of approval are considerably better. Washington has three hearing offices where you can make your case before an ALJ: one in Seattle, one in Spokane, and one in Tacoma.
A full 60.4% of Social Security disability claims which go to a hearing are approved. This is slightly higher than the 57.8% approval rating for the whole country. Washington Social Security disability claimants can expect to have to wait on average 349 days before they are able to receive their hearing. This is on par with national averages (350 days). It’s important that you show up on time and in the right place for your hearing before an ALJ. If rescheduling is necessary (and it shouldn’t be except in an extreme emergency), you will want to do so as much in advance as possible. The three hearing offices differ somewhat in award ratings and wait times. The breakdown is listed below:
|Hearing Office||Approval Rate||Processing Time in Days|
There are only 39 administrative law judge assigned to handle all of the Social Security disability hearings in the state of Washington. Ten of them handle hearings in Spokane, 24 handle hearings in Seattle, and thirteen handle hearings in Tacoma. Some of the ALJs handle hearings in two or even all three of Washington’s hearing offices. Each of these ALJs is unique, and it is to your advantage to have a lawyer who is familiar with your ALJ. Local Social Security lawyers are familiar with the judges who preside over hearings in their areas. Having a local attorney represent you could make the difference between an approval and a denial of your claim.
For a free initial consultation with a local Social Security disability lawyer, fill out the information on the form included on this website. Your Social Security lawyer will not charge you anything unless he or she is able to help you collect your Social Security disability benefits.