Nashville Social Security Disability Lawyer
We help clients to file claims and appeal denials for Disability benefits in Tennessee
If you have been injured or have fallen ill and are unable to work, you may meet the necessary requirements for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). This tax-funded, federal insurance program managed by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial help to people in your situation, either temporarily or permanently. However, navigating the process to obtain SSD benefits requires a thorough knowledge of the relevant laws, deadlines, and legal protocols involved.
If you believe you are eligible for SSDI benefits and reside in Tennessee, do not try to tackle this process on your own. Contact an experienced Nashville Social Security Disability lawyer like Rocky McElhaney today.
Did you Know?
72% of Social Security Disability claims are denied each year in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Office of Accountability.
Your odds of being allowed Social Security Disability benefits are 3 times higher with a lawyer, according to the same study.
Am I eligible for Social Security Disability in Tennessee?
SHORT ANSWER: Well, it’s complicated.
If you want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance in Tennessee, you must first determine whether you meet the necessary eligibility requirements.
Here are some of the things the Social Security Administration considers when reviewing your application:
- Have you worked enough years recently in jobs that withhold Social Security?
- Are you unable to do the work that you once did?
- Do you have a disabling condition which has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year, or to eventually result in your death?
- Does your condition appear on the Social Security Administration’s list of disabling conditions?
- Have you worked during the last year? How much did you earn?
Contact one of our Nashville Social Security Disability attorneys if you have questions about the requirements at 615-425-2500.
How much could Social Security Disability pay?
SHORT ANSWER: It depends on how many work credits you’ve earned.
What are “Work Credits”? In 2019, the Social Security Administration will award 1 work credit for every $1360 in wages you bring home. The number of work credits vary dependent upon your age, and when you become disabled.
The average benefit is $1,234 a month but that amount is not guaranteed, and can be less or up to $2,861
Qualifying conditions for Disability benefits
The Social Security Administration has a listing of physical and mental impairments (commonly referred to as the "Blue Book”) that can keep people from being able to work. Simply having been diagnosed with one of these disorders does not automatically qualify a person for Disability benefits, but these diagnoses may increase your chances of getting approved.
How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?
If you decide to do it alone, remember the odds and read “5 Reasons You Should Hire a SSD Lawyer.” If you’re still determined to do it alone, you can file by mail, online, in person, or by phone at 1-800-772-1213.
Documents You’ll Need:
- Your birth certificate
- Bank account information
- A list of your employers over the past 15 years
- A list of your doctors, hospitals, and medications
- Your marriage license and birth certificates of your children, if applicable
To apply in person, visit the SSA office locator page where you can enter your zip code and get the address, phone number, and hours of operation for the Social Security Administration field office nearest you.
How long will the process take?
SHORT ANSWER: It can take between 90 and 120 days to find out if your application for Social Security Disability has been approved or denied.
Step 1: A claims examiner at Tennessee’s Disability Determination Services Office (DDS) checks your records to verify that you meet the non-medical eligibility requirements including age, employment, marital status, Social Security coverage information, and other factors.
Step 2: A doctor reviews your application in regard to the medical evidence and evaluates whether your disability meets certain criteria.
Step 3: Some applicants are referred to physicians for in-person examinations.
Step 4: You’re notified whether your application has been approved or denied.
Please see the infographic "5 Ways to Increase Your Chances for Social Security Disability" to see how you can avoid delays in the filing process. If you have questions, give us a call at 615-425-2500.
What if my Social Security Disability application is denied?
SHORT ANSWER: You can appeal the decision and apply to one of several local, state, and federal programs and services designed to help people who are struggling to get by while they wait for their benefits.
Remember, the average rate of denial in Tennessee is 72%. Chances are high that it will be—especially if you applied without the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer.
- Reconsideration. You have 60 days to request a reconsideration. You may have to wait 3 to 6 months for an answer.
- Social Security Disability hearing. If your Reconsideration was denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) reviews your claim. The ALJ has the option to approve, deny, or send your application back for further review.
- Further appeals. If the ALJ did not rule in your favor, you can appeal the decision with the Appeals Council. However, few claimants are approved by the Appeals Council and the process may take up to a year to complete. The Federal District Court has the final say in approving or denying your application, but they can also send your application back to the SSA for another review.
Why should I hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
SHORT ANSWER: It’s the smartest thing to do.
- The outcome can affect you and your family for the rest of your lives.
- The process is complex and time-sensitive.
- The odds of winning are 3 times higher with a lawyer.
- An SSD lawyer can help you navigate the process and avoid potential mistakes.
- An SSD lawyer knows how to ensure there is both a sufficient amount and the right types of documentation in your record to support a favorable decision.
- An SSD lawyer can ensure the right evidence is presented at a hearing.
What if I can't afford a Social Security Disability attorney?
SHORT ANSWER: You can. Under federal law, Disability attorneys must take all cases on contingency. That means you don’t have to pay for anything up-front.
What will I pay at the end? Your lawyer can only charge up to 25% of your backpay (the payments that accrued while you were waiting for your application to go through and be accepted) OR $6,000 in total – whichever amount is less.
The SSA will typically withhold the amount of money from the check it issues for that backpay, so you never have to pay any costs or fees from your own pocket.
EXAMPLE: You hire a Tennessee Social Security Disability lawyer, who helps you file for benefits. It takes 90 days to get those benefits, and you are awarded $20,000 in backpay. Therefore, the SSA withholds $5000 in attorney fees, resulting in a total backpay amount issued to you for $15,000.
There may be exceptions to this rule if you end up pursuing benefits all the way to the Appeals Court level, however. That’s just another reason why it’s better to work with a Nashville Social Security Disability attorney from the start.
"When you're faced with an unfamiliar battle, one with bad odds and high stakes, you don't try to face it alone.
You hire someone with experience — someone who'll fight for you."
- Rocky McElhaney
Local Social Security Administration field offices
The Social Security Administration has field offices where representatives serve local residents by receiving Disability benefits applications in person, over the telephone, through the mail, or online. The field offices verify non-medical eligibility requirements including age, employment, marital status, Social Security coverage information, and other factors. Then the application is sent to a state agency called the Disability Determination Services (DDS) to evaluate the claimant's disability.
Tennessee has 27 Social Security Administration field offices. They also have an SSA office locator page where you can enter your zip code and get the address, phone number, and hours of operation for other offices.
Tennessee Office of Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 775
Nashville, Tennessee 37202
Tennessee Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review
SSA, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
Uptain Building, Suite 300
5751 Uptain Road
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37411-5673
Social Security Administration Field offices near me in Nashville:
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Work with the Tennessee Social Security Disability Attorneys you know and trust
Do you need help filing for Disability? Was your initial SSD application denied? Call the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm at 615-425-2500 or contact us today, and schedule your free consultation with an experienced Nashville Social Security Disability attorney. We maintain offices in Nashville and Hendersonville for your convenience.