Washington Disability Benefits FAQs

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits in Washington State can be a confusing process. Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process and what is necessary to qualify for Social Security benefits. Tom Bothwell has helped residents in Washington state receive benefits for years, so contact Bothwell & Hamill today for a free evaluation of your claim.


Who is eligible for disability benefits from Social Security?

Under Social Security rules, you’re only considered disabled (and eligible for benefits) if a medical condition or injury is expected to keep you from working for at least 12 months. The disability can be a physical condition, a mental condition, or a combination of both.


How does Social Security decide/determine if I’m disabled?

Social Security determines whether you’re disabled by reviewing your medical and employer records. Often these records extend back a year or more, so it’s important to start gathering documentation well ahead of any appeals or hearings. Because doctors don’t always know what constitutes a disability, we make sure they describe and present your information in a way that makes sense to the Social Security Administration. At Bothwell & Hamill, PLLC, we’ll help you collect, organize and evaluate your records to maximize your chance of success.


How can I find out if my medical condition qualifies for disability benefits?

While the Social Security Administration maintains a list of qualifying conditions, almost any condition that keeps you from working will qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security rules. Contact us today. We’ll arrange a FREE evaluation of your claim to find out if you qualify for benefits.


Are mental illnesses eligible for disability benefits?

Yes. If a mental or emotional problem is expected to keep you from working for 12 months, and the condition can be documented, you should qualify for benefits. You may also qualify if the mental condition is only part of the problem.


My doctor says I’m disabled. So why is Social Security denying my disability claim?

It could be any number of reasons. Many doctors don’t know how the Social Security Administration defines a disabling condition, and so don’t always report your case in the way the SSA can understand. Bothwell & Hamill can help you appeal for Social Security disability benefits in Yakima and Tri-Cities, Washington.


What’s the difference between Social Security Disability (S.S.D.) and Supplemental Security Income (S.S.I.)?

Social Security Disability benefits are typically paid to disabled people who have worked in the past and, therefore, have paid social security taxes from their paychecks. Basically, Social Security Disability is an insurance program that people purchase as they work. Supplemental Security Income (S.S.I.) benefits are for disabled people with little income and few resources. For SSI, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve worked in the past. Benefits are paid according to financial need. Some people qualify for both programs, some for neither, and some for one or the other.


If I applied but was denied, what should I do?

Give us a call. If you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits but your application was denied, we’ll help you identify the reasons and craft a legal strategy to win your appeal.


If I received notice that I’ll have hearing, what should I do?

Contact our office today. The issues involved in an appeals hearing are far more complex than your initial filing. This is one of the most important moments in your benefits claim, so it’s critical that both you and your evidence are prepared for the hearing. We can help.


How experienced is Bothwell & Hamill, in Social Security Disability?

Extremely. Tom Bothwell practices only Social Security Disability law. Tom has helped many people throughout Central Washington obtain disability benefits.


How much does it cost for Bothwell & Hamill, to represent my disability case?

If you don’t win benefits, you pay only expenses such as filing fees and incidentals; we don’t charge for legal or staff time. If you win, the most it could cost is 25 percent of the past-due benefits due to you or your children under eighteen, with a maximum fee of $6,000. The sooner you get a lawyer involved, the lower those costs are likely to be. Contact our office today.


How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security disability claim?

First, be honest and thorough when reporting your condition to Social Security. People are sometimes embarrassed to report psychological difficulties or learning disabilities, even though both can be important factors in receiving benefits. A lawyer can also vastly improve your chances; Social Security’s own numbers show that that people with legal counsel are much more likely to win benefits. Call our office. We’d be happy to talk.


If Social Security tries to cut off my disability benefits, what can I do?

The first thing you should do is contact a Social Security lawyer. Social Security is not supposed to cut off disability benefits unless your medical condition improves significantly. If you think your benefits have been wrongfully cut off, you need to appeal within 10 days of being notified, and you can ask that your benefits continue while you appeal the decision.


What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get disability benefits?
  • Failing to Hire a Lawyer can be a costly mistake. The Social Security Administration rejects most initial claims, but eventually approves most of those represented by counsel.
  • Waiting Too Long to File—Delays tend to lessen your chances of winning benefits.
  • Application Errors—Your disability application should be filled out carefully and should include your recent work history, salary information, and other relevant details. Minor errors often lead to applications being rejected.
  • Insufficient Proof—Be sure to visit your doctor regularly and maintain a record of the hospital visits and problems you encounter day to day. You should also keep track of all expenses related to your disability. These records will serve as proof to substantiate your claim.
  • Starting Over—If your initial claim is rejected, you should appeal the decision immediately. Many people make the mistake of filing a fresh application, which only causes delay.