How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Tennessee

Claimants with representation in Tennessee tend to be approved in higher percentages, have a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) which can result in higher back pay benefits.

Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners.

A qualified representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedures, especially with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.

To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"

Additional information

Residents of Tennessee who are thinking of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or supplemental security income, a.k.a. SSI benefits should take some time to consider at what point, if any, they will consult with a disability lawyer. Only about a fourth of all disability applications filed with the Tennessee disability determination services agency are approved for benefits their first time through the system. The vast majority of applicants are denied disability benefits even if they meet the most basic Social Security Disability requirements, not only upon initial application, but also upon appeal (this first appeal is often referred to as a request for reconsideration).

If fact, only 7.9 % of disability appeals filed in Tennessee each year are successful—this grim statistic is well below the national average.

So, if you live in Tennessee, you are probably now wondering if it is even worth your time to file for SSD, and the answer to that, despite the low number of approvals, is yes. First of all, if you are suffering from a truly disabling, ongoing medical condition, you will most certainly find that at some point you will simply not be able to make ends meet. Your ability to work may have already suffered, and for this reason you should never give up on a claim if you think you will need assistance.

You should also keep in mind that, although disability determination services is not likely to grant you benefits, you do have an opportunity to file a second appeal, which is a request for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge. At this level, with good legal counsel, you stand a 60% chance of winning benefits. However, it is critical to the outcome of your case that you put your best foot forward at this hearing.

While it is true a disability judge is more likely than a disability examiner to award benefits, studies have shown that judges in disability cases tend to decide in the claimant’s favor most often when he or she has legal representation. In fact, those represented by a disability lawyer are up to 50% more likely to prevail than those who represent themselves on Social Security Disability application.

If you are concerned about the expense involved in obtaining legal counsel, you should weigh in your mind the possible benefits of getting a disability attorney. An experienced attorney may be able to help you present a stronger case based on his or her knowledge of the disability system, and help you to gather stronger medical evidence to refute any weaknesses in you initial application that may have been used by the disability examiner as a basis for your denial.

He or she will also be used to presenting facts to a judge in a way that is both organized and well-presented—very few individuals can equal the knowledge of the disability and legal systems of a lawyer specializing in SSD/SSI cases, and so very few are able to advocate for themselves before a judge as well as an experienced attorney in these proceedings.

At any rate, the numbers indicate that getting a disability lawyer is likely to be worth the price in the end, when you are able to count on a monthly disability payment to help out in what is certain to be a time of financial need. In other words, an able lawyer may increase the chance of a Social Security Disability approval and reduce the chance of receiving a Social Security Disability denial letter.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.