Olympia Social Security lawyer describes the application and initial disability evaluation process
The disability evaluation process can be slow and complicated. Most Social Security and SSI disability claims are denied at the initial level. Successful cases typically have to pass through two additional levels of review: reconsideration and administrative hearing. Unfortunately, many applicants give up after the initial denial. This is a serious mistake.
Do not abandon your disability claim if it is denied initially. Appeal it to the next level. Although two-thirds of all claims are denied initially, more than half of claimants who appeal until they get a hearing are ultimately successful.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits
The Washington Social Security Administration offers applicants three ways to apply:
- In person at your local Social Security office.
- By telephone.
- On line at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/
If you decide to apply by phone, you will need to make an appointment first by calling 1-800-772-1213. Someone will call you at the scheduled time to take your information. You can also make an appointment to have your application taken at your local office by calling the 800 number.
The two forms you will need to complete are: the Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report. You will want to take some time to gather the information requested by the forms before beginning the application process. These forms ask about your work history over the past 15 years; your medical treatment and care providers; your medications; and your education and training.
The Social Security Administration’s website provides a disability starter kit that you can download or print. It tells you what documents and information you will need to complete the forms
You can complete the application forms without help from a disability lawyer and many claimants do. But if you need help, our Olympia disability lawyers are prepared to offer assistance. Sometimes a disability lawyer’s assistance can help you avoid mistakes.
How your application is evaluated
On receiving your application, the Social Security Administration will verify that you meet the non-medical requirements, i.e., you have worked long enough and recently enough to be insured for disability benefits or you meet the financial need requirements for SSI. Then Social Security will forward you application to the Washington Disability Determination Services (DDS).
DDS is a state agency that does disability evaluations for the Social Security Administration. The disability examiner assigned to your claim will contact the health care providers that you list in your application to request your medical records and information about your condition. The examiner may also contact you for further information or to arrange for you to have additional medical examinations.
After collecting and reviewing all your evidence, DDS will make an initial a decision on your application and notify you by mail. If your claim is denied, do not be discouraged. Make sure you exercise your right to appeal. Remember, your greatest chance of success is at an administrative hearing.
Get help from an Olympia Social Security attorney
If you need help with your application or appeal, please contact us. Having an experienced Olympia Social Security lawyer on your side can significantly improve your chances of success.
If you would like an evaluation of your case, please describe your claim using the form on this page, and we will respond promptly. Or you may contact us at:
Law Office of Eitan Kassel Yanich, PLLC
Olympia Social Security lawyers
203 Fourth Avenue E.
Olympia, Washington 98501