Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Social Security Disability Archives

Advanced Designation of a Representative Payee

Social Security now offers beneficiaries the option to advance designate a representative payee. Advance Designation allows for an individual to designate up to 3 individuals who would serve as their representative payee if the situation arises where the individual could no longer manage his or her own money. Social Security states, "If you become unable to manage, or direct others to manage your benefits in the future, you will have peace of mind knowing that someone you trust may be appointed to manage your benefits for you."

Community Outreach during COVID-19

On March 13, 2020, Governor Kay Ivey declared an official State of Emergency in Alabama. Similarly, Mayor Sandy Stimpson followed suit by declaring a Public Health Emergency for the City of Mobile. Although Governor Ivey has now eased some of the restrictions surrounding businesses and daily life in Alabama, many of those in the Mobile area might still be needing assistance as the economic impact of a pandemic continues to take a toll. Below is a list of some of the different charities and services that are being provided in the Mobile area for those struggling during COVID-19.


The Office of Hearing Operations closed its doors to the public almost two weeks ago and began offering some telephonic hearings depending on the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At first the ALJs could not conduct hearings from home telephonically, but have been working with IT on that solution. Our office held conversations with the local hearing office which stated that they tested the phone for home hearings last week. In office staff at the hearing offices are limited.


Per the National Association of Disability Representatives, SSA organized a conference last week regarding steps they are taking due to COVID-19. All district offices are continuing to take and adjudicate claims by phone, online and via mail. SSA is supposed to be prioritizing dire need claims and suspending policies which would reduce or eliminate benefits during this pandemic.

4 Things to Know Before Applying for Social Security Disability

1. Compile all information regarding your medical treatment. Upon applying for Social Security disability, you will be asked what medical treatment you have been receiving and who are your medical providers. It is very important to know not only what doctors you are seeing including the doctor's full name, address, and phone number but also to know when it is that you started seeing the doctor and any important dates associated with your treatment.

"My Social Security" Account

Most people do not know that they can access many of Social Security's services online through a "my Social Security" account. After creating a "my Social Security" account, users can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, as well as check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card, print a benefit verification letter, and more. Social Security's website makes it easier for everyone to access their own information with Social Security without having to go to their local Social Security Office.


In early 2019, the Social Security Administration was rumored to begin monitoring applicants' and beneficiaries' social media accounts as part of the process of evaluating disability. Many advocates for the disabled, including representatives, attorneys, organizations, and U.S. Senate, pushed back on this idea.

How Veterans and Social Security Disability qualifications differ

Many soldiers spend years serving their county only to come back a mere shell of themselves after fighting on the front lines. If you're a veteran that receives disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), then you probably assume that the Social Security Administration (SSA) would also classify you as disabled. This isn't necessarily the case though. Both federal agencies have distinct guidelines that you must meet to receive disability benefits.

Disabled people worried about proposed benefits changes

Many disabled people have been worried by recent indications that the Trump administration is considering reducing disability benefits, or making it harder for disabled people to apply for or keep their benefits.

New rule may mean more frequent reviews for disability recipients

Many of our readers in Alabama know just how hard it is to get approved for Social Security disability benefits. The application process can be arduous and can take quite a bit of time to get through, especially if an appeal is necessary. SSD benefits are a financial lifeline for those who are unable to work any longer due to a physical or mental disability.

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