Social Security FAQ

The entire process from being eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), to applying for benefits, to filing an appeal can be a confusing matter. We have compiled a list of some of the more frequently asked questions that we face when handling Social Security Disability benefits cases. If you have any further inquiries beyond the scope of this document, please feel free to contact us via e-mail or phone one of our three local branches.

What can an Alabama Social Security Disability Lawyer do for me?

The amount of red-tape and technicalities that the Social Security Administration places on applicants for disability benefits can be daunting to say the least. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can help you sift through all of these details and make sense of it all. Additionally they can help prepare your case should it need to be seen at either a hearing or before a judge for further review.

Effective Social Security Disability lawyers will also help you prepare all the necessary documents that you will need to prove your justification for benefits. The top Alabama attorneys here at Wettermark & Keith, LLC., can set you up with various medical specialists to help illustrate the extent of your specific injury. Remember, a majority of applicants for SSD and SSI benefits are denied. Many will require further appeal in order to be successful, we can help in this regard.

How long do I have to file an appeal?

For your first level of appeal, also known as a reconsideration, you have 60 days to file. Failure to file within this window can result in a loss of back pay benefits as well as having to re-start the entire application process all over again. Acquiring disability benefits often takes a long amount of time in itself, it cannot be stressed enough that if your claim is initially denied that you do not want to start all over again. Contact our law office if you are looking to file for an appeal, our expert Alabama appeals lawyers can help you every step of the way to make your claim a success.

How much will it cost me to hire an Alabama SSD or SSI lawyer?

Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, if we don’t win your case — you won’t pay anything. Set up a no-hassle, no-fee consultation to discuss further specifics of your case. As all Social Security Disability cases are different, there is no simple blanket answer to this question. The Social Security Administration has put in a place a maximum allowed lawyer fee of $6,000 for all SSD and SSI cases. This amount is regulated by the SSA, not by individual law firms. Ultimately each case will need to be individually reviewed in order to assess fees.

What are common mistakes people make when applying for benefits?

Arguably the number one mistake people make when applying for Social Security benefits is simply failing to appeal. A large number of applicants are initially denied, after a case is denied many feel as if there is no hope and simply give up. This is precisely why you need the expert appeals lawyers here at Wettermark & Keith, LLC., on your side. We can help you through the difficult, seemingly confusing appeals process.

How do I appeal a rejected SSD or SSI application?

Once you are denied benefits, you will be sent a letter. This letter will detail exactly what you need to do in order to start the appeals process. You can either mail in your appeal, call the SSA office, or go online at and fill out the appeals application there. Remember, you only have 60 days to do this. Hiring expert legal council to help you through this process is highly recommended.

How do I contact your law office?

Several ways. Fill out the free case evaluation form on our web site and we will get back to you promptly. If you wish to speak to us directly, feel free to call one of our three branches.

  • Birmingham Office       205.933.9500
  • Huntsville Office       256.536.8010
  • Montgomery Office       334.284.0014

Contact us today if you have any further questions regarding Social Security Disability benefits not covered here. Our personable attorneys are here for you and can help guide you down the path to a successful recovery.

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Wettermark & Keith secures a reversal of judge's decision by the Appeals council for their client

Wettermark Keith is pleased to announce exciting news from the Social Security department. While our attorneys have an extremely successful track record in obtaining favorable outcomes for our clients, sometimes the journey is longer than others. When a client receives an unfavorable decision from an Administrative Law Judge, the available recourse is to appeal that decision to the Appeals Council, the body responsible for reviewing cases for mistakes made by the previous judge as to the law or facts. Unfortunately, due to the strict standard of review, the Appeals Council fails to find a reason to overturn or remand the prior determination in the vast majority of cases. However, our attorneys are committed to ensuring that our clients receive the benefits they deserve.

This month, Attorney Jessica Brooks secured a reversal of the judge’s decision by the Appeals Council for her client. A more common outcome when the Appeals Council takes issue with a judge’s decision, is a remand to the judge in order to conduct a another hearing, a process which is time consuming and does not always result in a positive outcome. A reversal constitutes an outright order of payment of benefits to the claimant and only happens in 2% of cases! Ms. Brooks added, “I understand that this is often a long and frustrating process for my clients. This was a case that went to hearing in November of 2011 and we received the Appeals Council reversal in February of 2014. However, the fact that my client will be compensated for that time in back pay makes the determination and hard work worth it.” Wettermark Keith looks forward to future Appeals Council reversals as we continue to provide our expertise and experience to our clients.

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