Compassionate and Diligent Representation in Alabama
The Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) is designed to provide financial support to people who become disabled and are consequently no longer able to work. Unfortunately, accessing benefits through SSDI is rarely a straightforward endeavor, and over half of applicants are initially denied. Many of these applicants have legitimate claims but are unable to successfully navigate the complex application process.
If you are struggling to obtain Social Security Benefits, our team at Loftin, Loftin & May can help. Our Phenix City Social Security Disability lawyers have over 55 years of collective legal experience and understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Alabama’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) adjudicate applications and appeals. We can help you prepare your application materials and pursue all available means of advancing your claim.
If your Social Security Benefit application has been denied, do not lose hope. Contact us online or call (334) 310-0208 to discuss your situation with our team.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability in Alabama
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have a qualifying disability that prevents you from working and a sufficient number of “work credits.” Generally, the older you are, the more work credits you will need. You earn these credits by working a job in which you pay Social Security taxes. These taxes act as an insurance policy in the event that you become disabled and can no longer work.
Understanding whether you have earned enough work credits can be immensely confusing. Our Phenix City Social Security Disability attorneys can thoroughly evaluate your case and advise whether you qualify. Other forms of relief, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may be available if you do not have the needed number of work credits.
To receive SSDI benefits, you must also prove your disability is “severe,” “total,” and “long-term.” A disability is “severe” if substantially limits your ability to perform basic work-related tasks, including standing, walking, sitting, lifting objects, or remembering. A disability is “total” if it prevents you from doing the work you used to do and prevents you from doing other types of adjusted work. The SSA considers a disability “long-term” if its consequences are expected to last for a minimum of one year or result in death.
Conditions that typically qualify someone for SSDI benefits include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism and Asperger’s
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Failure
- High Blood Pressure
- Kidney Failure
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Vision Loss (including Blindness)
The above list is not exhaustive. Many types of physical and mental disabilities may qualify you for SSDI benefits if their effects significantly or completely inhibit your ability to work.
Frustratingly, your SSDI request will likely be denied at first, even if your claim was prepared by a legal professional. Do not get discouraged: We are extensively familiar with the appeals process and will advocate for you every step of the way.
It is important that you promptly seek legal assistance after receiving a rejection letter, as you will in most cases only have 60 days to initiate the appeals process. In Alabama, the DDS evaluates whether someone’s disability qualifies them for benefits, and all appeals are handled through the agency.
Available steps in the Alabama SSDI benefits appeals process include:
- Reconsideration Request. You have the right to ask for another person at the agency to review and reconsider your original application.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing. If your application is denied a second time, you can request a hearing where a judge will the DDS’s decision and consider any newly available evidence. You should expect to wait at least a year for your hearing to be scheduled.
- Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will not review new evidence and will exclusively evaluate whether the law or agency procedures were incorrectly applied in your case. If the Appeals Council discovers a problem, they may choose to remand your case or adjudicate it themselves.
- Federal Court Review. If the Appeals Council declines to review your claim or you face another denial, you can potentially pursue your case in federal court.
The SSDI program has a waiting period of five months. This means that you will only start receiving benefits after five months have elapsed from the date your disability began, even if your application is quickly approved. However, if your application is initially denied but later approved through an appeal, you will generally be entitled to retroactive benefits.
At Loftin, Loftin & May, we are committed to helping injured and disabled Americans fight for the benefits they need. Our Phenix City Social Security Disability lawyers know how to navigate every level of the Alabama benefits appeals process and will work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome in your case.Schedule a Consultation Today
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