Filing for Disability in Alabama

Alabama has its own state agency that determines disability for Social Security disability as well as an extra payment for some SSI recipients.

By , J.D. · Albany Law School

Applying for Social Security or SSI disability benefits in Alabama is the same as in other states, but Alabama has its own state agency that determines whether applicants are disabled. And the agency has different approval and denial rates from the rest of the country. If your application is denied, you can request an appeal hearing at one of Alabama's four hearing offices.

This article covers Social Security's application and disability determination processes as well as Alabama's extra payment for some SSI recipients.

How Do I Apply for and Get Disability Benefits in Alabama?

You can file your disability application for Social Security disability benefits in one of three ways:

What Happens After You Submit Your Application?

Social Security will review your application to make sure you meet the technical requirements, and then will pass it on to Alabama Disability Determination Services (DDS). A claims examiner at DDS decides whether you'll receive disability benefits as well as the start date of those benefits.

Approval Rates at Alabama DDS Offices

At the initial application step, Alabama's approval rate is slightly lower than the national average. Initial applications in Alabama are approved 34% of the time, while the national average for approvals on initial applications is 38%.

Contact Information for Alabama DDS

Alabama DDS has two offices to handle initial applications. Once your application is filed, you should direct all questions to your local DDS office. Below is the contact information for the offices.

Mobile Office
P.O. Box 2371
Mobile, AL 36615
Telephone: (251) 433-2820
Fax: (251) 436-0699

Birmingham Office
P.O. Box 830300
Birmingham, AL 35283
Telephone: (205) 989-210
Fax: (205) 989-2428

How Do I Appeal a Disability Denial in Alabama?

If the claims examiner at Alabama DDS denies your claim, you can ask for a reconsideration by a different claims examiner by filing a reconsideration request (this is the first level of appeal). Only 15% of claims are approved at the reconsideration stage.

If your claim is denied again, you must tell Social Security in writing within 60 days of the denial that you want to file a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). The DDS will then send your claim to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), where a judge will decide your case at a disability hearing.

If you receive another denial from the ALJ, you can appeal to the Appeals Council.

If you don't get a favorable decision from the Appeals Council, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. Alabama has three district courts: Northern District, Middle District, and Southern District. The district court that you file your lawsuit with generally depends on where you live.

Approval Rates at Alabama's Hearing Offices

At the hearing level, the approval rates tend to be higher because disability applicants have the opportunity to answer any questions the ALJ may have about their case and provide witnesses who can attest to their disability and the limitations the disability causes. In Alabama, the approval rating at the hearing level is 60%; the national average is 57%.

In addition, since it takes so long to get a hearing date, many applicants' medical conditions have deteriorated by the time they go to their hearing. The average wait time for a hearing in Alabama is 15 months in Alabama.

Stage of Application



Initial Application









Hearing Wait Time

15 months

15 months

Source: ALJ Disposition Data Fiscal Year 2023 and Average Wait Time Until Hearing, June 2023 (Social Security).

Addresses of Alabama's Offices of Hearings Operations (OHO)

The Office of Hearings Operations, or OHO, is the department that handles all disability appeal hearings. There are four OHO offices that serve Alabama. Below is the contact information for the hearing offices.

Birmingham OHO
1200 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.
1st Floor
Birmingham, AL 35285
Telephone: (866) 613-2863
Fax: (833) 968-1654
Services the following field offices: Albertville, Bessemer, Birmingham Downtown, Birmingham East, Gadsden, Jasper, Talladega, Tuscaloosa

Florence OHO
Walnut Street Executive Center
204 South Walnut Street, Suite D
Florence, AL 35630
Telephone: (866) 964-9978
Fax: (833) 510-0094
Services the following field offices: Cullman, Florence, Huntsville

Mobile OHO
550 Government St., Suite 200
Mobile, AL 36602
Telephone: (866) 563-4698
Fax: (833) 968-1656
Services the following field offices: Andalusia, Dothan, Fairhope, Jackson, Mobile

Montgomery OHO
4344 Carmichael Road, Suite 200
Montgomery, AL 36106
Telephone: (866) 931-9032
Fax: (833) 499-0271
Services the following field offices: Alexander City, Anniston, Montgomery, Opelika, Selma

Before your hearing, you may want to check for address and phone number changes using Social Security's hearing office locator.

How Much Do SSDI and SSI Recipients in Alabama Receive?

The average SSDI payment in Alabama is $1,541, but the amount you'll receive is based on the amount of money you've earned over many years. The maximum amount of SSDI that someone can receive is $3,627 in 2023, but hardly anyone receives that amount.

For SSI, the federal government pays a maximum of $914 per individual and $1,371 per couple every month. But this amount is adjusted if you have additional income or if you receive free room and board. That's why the average SSI payment in Alabama is only $558.

States can also choose to provide additional monthly payments to their citizens in addition to the federal monthly payments, and Alabama does make a small payment to some SSI recipients who have received SSI for a long time. (Ala. Admin. Code Chapter 660-2-4.)

Alabama's state supplemental monthly payment for SSI depends on the SSI recipient's living arrangements, according to the table below. (IHC stands for independent home-life care, where the care provider is not an immediate relative and is employed by a certified home health agency.)



IHC in a private home or a personal care home



IHC and support and maintenance in a private home or personal care home



Specialized IHC in a private home or personal care home



Specialized IHC and support and maintenance in a private home or personal care home



In some situations, Alabamans who have too much countable income for SSI might also be able to receive this state supplementation payment. This monthly payment is administered by each Alabama county's Department of Human Resources.

Is Disability Income Taxable in Alabama?

Alabama exempts 100% of Social Security benefits and SSI benefits from a resident's tax liability. That means you don't have to pay state income tax on SSDI or SSI payments. For people with higher incomes, the federal government will tax a portion of their SSDI benefits. But the IRS will never tax SSI benefits.

Are There Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Alabama?

After the onset of a disability, individuals who want to try going back to work may need assistance preparing to get a job, finding a job, and keeping that job.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services provides vocational services for all disabled individuals. There are 20 Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) offices spread throughout Alabama to provide services. Contact information for the offices can be found on the VRS website.

Updated August 10, 2023

Other Sources:
Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021
Annual Statistical Supplement, 2022

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