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Evergreen Law Firm Handling Disability Claims

The Social Security Disability Claims Process Explained

The process of obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can involve multiple stages, considerable paperwork and documentation, complicated procedural and evidentiary rules and requirements, and lengthy hearings and appearances before judges or other hearing officers. Every stage of this process presents its own challenges and pitfalls that may cost you your benefits.

There are generally five potential stages to the SSD or SSI claims process:

disability claims process


The process begins with filing an application for benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This can be done online, by phone, by mail, or in person at an SSA “field office.” There are multiple SSA field offices throughout south Alabama, including in Mobile, Andalusia, Alexander City, Dothan, Fairhope, Jackson, Selma, and Montgomery.

The application must be accompanied by a significant amount of employment, tax, medical and other documentation. The application and supporting materials are then sent from the field office to what is known as a Disability Determination Service (DDS) office where the initial evaluation and determination will be made regarding your claim. There are two DDS offices in Alabama, one in Montgomery and one in Mobile.

If the DDS office approves your claim, you will begin receiving your benefits thereafter as long as you remain disabled. However, more than half of initial requests for disability benefits are denied. When that happens, the claimant must move to the next step in the process.

Request for Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge

If your claim for benefits is denied, you can appeal that decision by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). ODAR has hearing offices in Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Florence.

The ALJ will review your file and a hearing will be held. At the hearing, evidence will be presented and testimony will be heard from you, your doctors, medical and vocational experts that may testify at your request or the request of the ALJ, and other witnesses. It can feel, and very much acts, like a trial.

Appeals Council Review

If the ALJ has denied your claim for benefits, you can appeal the ALJs decision to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council does not evaluate the merits of your claim but simply determines whether the ALJ made an error in ruling on your claim.

District Court Case

If the Appeals Council denies your request for review, which happens most of the time, you can then appeal the decision to the U.S. District Court.

Needless to say, the process of seeking and obtaining benefits can be lengthy, time-consuming, costly and exhausting. While you are trying to recover from your disability or obtain the care, treatment and resources you need, the last thing you need is the uncertainty and headaches of complicated legal procedures. At Green Disability Law, we use our extensive experience and success with Social Security Disability matters to handle everything  for you, every step of the way.

Disclaimer: The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

This website has been prepared by Green Disability Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.


953 Dauphin St.
Mobile,  AL  36604
Phone:  251-433-1737
307 South McKenzie St., Suite 108
Foley,  AL  36535
Phone:  251-433-1737
201 Office Park Building, Suite 4
65 Pineville Road
Monroeville,  AL  36460
Phone:  251-575-3753
123 McIntyre Street
Evergreen,  AL   36401
Phone:  251-575-3753

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