Alabama Disability BenefitsUpdated May 24, 2021 Social Security Disability
With so many Alabama residents needing disability services, it’s important to know what resources are available and how to access them. Alabama residents can apply for assistance with both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
These federal programs are available to all Americans who qualify, though the applications for these services are administered by state agencies. Applications go through Alabama Disability Determination Service (DDS).
Alabama has additional programs that can provide aid to disabled individuals and other Alabama state residents such as Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS).
The ADRS offers state-level disability services for Alabamians from birth to seniors. The SAIL program (State Of Alabama Independent Living Service) provides long-term disability care to seniors with physical or developmental disabilities. Alabama also offers vocational rehabilitation and children’s rehabilitation.
Facts About Alabama
Around 33% of Alabama’s population has some sort of disability. This is one of the highest rates in the nation. Of these disabled individuals, the greatest majority suffer from a mobility-related disability or a cognition-related disability such as mental illness.
Studies show that 46% of those with a disability have obesity and 33% smoke. These added health concerns make it essential that disability benefits are accessible to any person who needs them. Alabama spends approximately 39% of its healthcare expenditures on its disability services.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Alabama
Those who apply for Social Security disability benefits must meet a set of criteria laid out by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These requirements are the same across the country, regardless of what state you live in, though approval is determined at the state level.
Alabama approves approximately 31% of all first time applications for SSDI benefits. Given this relatively low approval rate, it’s worthwhile to ensure you meet all criteria before applying.
Qualified applicants must typically meet two main requirements to receive monthly benefits. First, they must have an adequate work history that has paid into the Social Security tax system. This is generally considered to be 10 years of employment, though waivers can be made for those with severe intellectual disabilities or mental retardation who are unable to work in any capacity.
The second requirement is that your disability must be considered “severe.” This means that you are unable to work for at least 12 months. Your disability should be found on this list compiled by the SSA. If it is not found here, you will have difficulty winning your disability insurance case.
Those who are still able to work in some capacity cannot earn more than the monthly income level (currently $1,310), and they are also protected from discrimination at the workplace. Under Alabama law, employers must make any reasonable accommodation to assist workers in completing their jobs.
How To Apply for SSDI in Alabama
All applications for Social Security Disability must be made with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Applications can be made online at SSA.gov, over the phone by calling 800-772-1213, or in person at a local SSA field office.
Those wishing to apply at a Social Security field office should call first and schedule an appointment. There are 22 offices in the state of Alabama to help with Social Security benefits.
After your application is reviewed by DDS, you will receive your determination. As an applicant, you should prepare as much relevant information ahead of time.
The necessary documents can vary, but the following information is usually required:
- Personal information about you, your spouse, and any minor children including date and place of birth, and marriage, divorce, or military service records from the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Basic employment information if you’re currently working
- Personal references (doctors, family, friends) who can verify your disability claim
- Basic medical records relating to your disability including diagnosed medical conditions and tests
- Job and education history
How To Appeal a Denial in Alabama
Alabama is similar to other states with its low initial approval rate. Most applicants will have to go through the appeals process if they want to get their application approved. Each step of the process must be completed within 60 days of the preceding denial, and you cannot skip steps.
Step 1: Reconsideration - The first step an applicant should take is to request reconsideration. Your application will be reviewed by a new representative who was not involved in your initial denial to see if an error was made. Approximately 14% of claims are approved at this stage.
Step 2: Disability Hearing - If your reconsideration was also denied, you may request a disability adjudication with an administrative law judge. There are four Hearing and Appeals offices in Alabama and your hearing will be scheduled at one of them.
This process can take more than a year and you’ll likely be asked to bring additional documentation to support your case. Many people choose to consult with an attorney versed in disability law at this stage. Around 56% of cases are approved at this level.
Step 3: Appeals Council - The third stage of the appeals process is to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. This council will review the previous decisions and request additional documentation if needed.
Level 4: Federal Court - If all three previous levels of appeal were unsuccessful, you will have to file a lawsuit at a district federal court in Alabama. There are three federal courts in the Northern, Southern, and Central Alabama regions. If you have not yet retained a lawyer for legal service, you will need to for federal court.
More Alabama Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federal insurance program for those with lower incomes. SSI benefits are available to those with disabilities and seniors over 65. Applicants must meet low income requirements.
The income requirements for SSI are similar to Alabama Medicaid – many who qualify for one program will qualify for the other. Medicaid provides a health insurance benefit to low income Alabamians of all ages. Some individuals will have to pay a small co-pay for services, but these copay requirements are often waived.
Financial service is also available through Alabama Unemployment benefits. This program provides temporary financial help to those who can’t work or whose hours have been dramatically reduced through no fault of their own. The program has a maximum weekly payout of $275 for up to 20 weeks.
Alabama Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Alabama|
|Birmingham DT SSA Office||1200 Rev Abraham Woods Jr Blvd N|
District Office 1st Floor
Birmingham, AL 35285
|Montgomery SSA Office||4344 Carmichael Rd|
Montgomery, AL 36106
|Mobile SSA Office||550 Government St|
Mobile, AL 36602
|Decatur SSA Office||717 McGlathery Ln Se|
Decatur, AL 35601
|Gadsden SSA Office||204 Enterprise Drive|
Gadsden, AL 35904
|Anniston SSA Office||801 Quintard Avenue|
Anniston, AL 36201
|Dothan SSA Office||1778 Whatley Drive|
Dothan, AL 36303
|Tuscaloosa SSA Office||2005 University Blvd Ste 1200|
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
|Selma SSA Office||120 Executive Park Ln|
Selma, AL 36701
|Florence SSA Office||203 South Walnut St|
Florence, AL 35630
|Huntsville SSA Office||4970 Research Drive NW|
Huntsville, AL 35805
|Auburn SSA Office||2454 E University Dr|
Auburn, AL 36830
|Andalusia SSA Office||24467 Alabama Hwy 55|
Andalusia, AL 36420
|Talladega SSA Office||736 North Street East|
Talladega, AL 35160
|Bessemer SSA Office||5475 Academy Way|
Bessemer, AL 35022
|Jasper SSA Office||501 The Mall Way|
Jasper, AL 35504
|Cullman SSA Office||1908 Commerce Ave NW|
Cullman, AL 35055
|Albertville SSA Office||406 Martling Road|
Albertville, AL 35951
|Birmingham E SSA Office||1972 Gadsden Hwy.|
Trussville Exec. Park
Birmingham, AL 35235
|Fairhope SSA Office||101 Courthouse Dr|
Fairhope, AL 36532
|Alexander City SSA Office||63 Aliant Parkway|
Alexander City, AL 35010
|Jackson SSA Office||4249 N College Ave|
Jackson, AL 36545
Alabama Hearing and Appeal Offices
Alabama is in Region 4 (Atlanta), which services Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
|Region 4 - SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Alabama|
|SSA Hearing Office - Birmingham||1200 Rev Abraham Woods Jr Blvd|
Birmingham, AL 35285
|SSA Hearing Office - Florence||204 South Walnut Street, Suite D|
Walnut Street Executive Center
Florence, AL 35630
|SSA Hearing Office - Mobile||550 Government Street Suite 200|
Mobile, AL 36602
|SSA Hearing Office - Montgomery||4344 Carmichael Road Suite 200|
Montgomery, AL 36106