Answers to Your Questions

If you feel overwhelmed applying for Social Security Disability benefits in Washington State, you’re not alone. It’s a complicated process.

At Bothwell & Hamill, we’ve collected answers to some of the most common questions you might have about qualifying for disability benefits.

Attorney Tom Bothwell has helped more people win benefits than any other lawyer in Yakima, Kennewick, Sunnyside, Spokane, Richland, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Walla Walla and across Central Washington.

We will evaluate your situation FOR FREE.

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  • Who is eligible for disability benefits from Social Security?

    Social Security determines that you have a disability qualifying you for benefits if your 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 if I have a disability?

    Social Security determines whether you have an official disability 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 Social Security considers to be a disability, the attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill make sure to describe and present your information in a way that makes sense to the Social Security Administration. 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 Social Security rules. Bothwell & Hamill will provide FREE evaluation of your claim so you can find out if you qualify for benefits. Call us today!

  • 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. If you were denied, Bothwell & Hamill can help you appeal for Social Security disability benefits.

  • What’s the difference between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

    Social Security Disability benefits are typically paid to people who have worked in the past and, therefore, paid Social Security taxes from their paychecks. Basically, SSD is an insurance program that you purchase as you work. Supplemental Security Income 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?

    Call us at Bothwell & Hamill. 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?

    Call Bothwell & Hamill 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. Attorney Tom Bothwell focuses entirely on Social Security Disability law. He has worked with this system for more than 40 years. He’s helped more people win benefits than any other lawyer in Central Washington.

  • How much does it cost to get 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 you earn while you wait for a decision, with a maximum fee of $6,000. The sooner you get a lawyer involved, the lower those costs are likely to be. Call 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 have shown that people with a professional representative are much more likely to win benefits. It costs you nothing to talk to us about your situation. Give us a call!

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

    The first thing you should do is call 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 stopped, you need to appeal within 10 days of being notified. 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?

    • Waiting Too Long to File. Delays 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 from 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.
    • Failing to Hire a Lawyer. The Social Security Administration rejects most initial claims but eventually approves most of the people who are represented by counsel.
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