How to Apply for Social Security Disability benefits | Social Security

How to Apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Alabama

How to Apply for Social Security Disability benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a type of government benefit meant to bridge the gap for individuals who do not have the capacity to earn a living due to an underlying disability. These benefits however, have several stringent application requirements to ensure only those who absolutely need assistance, receive it.

If you are looking into beginning an SSDI application, it’s always best to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to secure the best outcome possible.

As such, we hope this article gives you a good starting point to learn about the disability application process, medical requirements, and where to seek legal assistance.

Common Disabilities

If you are just beginning your SSDI journey or are finding yourself with a medical condition that has you newly unable to work, you might be wondering whether your challenges qualify for disability benefits.

While there are more criteria to meet than just the disabilities themselves, some common challenges include:

  • Being deaf or hard of hearing 
  • Being low-vision or blind
  • Cardiac conditions such as heart failure 
  • Mental disorders such as severe depression
  • Autism 
  • Cancer 

Please note: this list is non-exhaustive.  If you don’t see your symptoms listed above, we have included more extensive resources below.

Basic Requirements

There are several requirements you must meet to qualify and apply for benefits. There are two main requirements that will be included in your disability application: qualifying disabilities and necessary financial limitations.

Qualifying Disabilities

As outlined by the SSA, there are two “parts” to social security that outline your eligibility. While there are some exceptions, Part A is used for adult disability and Part B is used as an assessment for minors under the age of 18.

If your medical records do not explicitly diagnose you with one of these listed disabilities, that does not necessarily disqualify you from coverage. However, understand the process will be a little longer and require an adjudicator and other work-arounds to the current system.

Income Limitations

Another main tenant of SSDI is an income cap. Because SSDI is a needs-based system, this income cap is significantly lower than the average wage, sitting at just around $1,070 per month.

This income cap only applies to the individual seeking SSDI coverage however. As such, partners who have a higher earning capacity, investment income, or the like, will not put your SSDI claim in jeopardy.

These are just two of the most basic requirements to meet for your SSDI claim. For more information visit

Application Process

One you have determined that you meet the basic requirements for application, you can move forward with your disability claim.

How to apply for SSDI benefits is relatively straightforward, but you must be precise to ensure your application is not discarded over procedural errors.

File Your Initial Application

A large majority of disability claims are denied on their first pass through the system. If this happens, you have the options to either apply for disability benefits again, or, to file for reconsideration of your original application.


Should you file for reconsideration and win your claim, you will be awarded with disability coverage. If you are still denied coverage, you can once more file a new claim or request a hearing. You must request this hearing within 60 days of your denial.

Disability hearing

Here, your case will be reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge. It is generally recommended that you have legal representation at this stage in your process as it gives you the highest chance of success. Generally, this is the stage where most claims are granted.

Persistent Denial

If you are trying to apply for disability and are consistently denied coverage, the issue may not be in your qualifications, but in your approach. Disability is a nuanced field with read tape at every turn. As such, while it’s technically possible to file without legal aid, it’s not recommended and nearly never ends well.

Alabama Disability Attorneys

Law is a nuanced and intricate field. When the stakes are high and you rely on a good outcome to help meet your day-to-day needs, working with a dedicated social security disability lawyer is your best chance at success.

At Cook and Associates, we help our clients with a variety of legal needs, making sure they are supported through every step of the process.

We are here for you and just a quick phone call away. Contact us at (334) 356-7879 for more information and get on the path to receiving the benefits you deserve.

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