Social Security Disability in Tennessee
Millions of Americans every year are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. However, this financial hardship can be helped through an application to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits. If you have been a part of the workforce for ten or more years you can be eligible to receive these benefits, but the application and potential appeal can be a complex process to attempt on your own.
Disability Determination Services
According to the Tennessee Department of Human Services, the Tennessee Disability Determination Services (DDS) is a section within the Division of Rehabilitation Services of this department. The DDS operates between Tennessee and the federal Social Security Administration to process Social Security disability claims.
The DDS works with the state’s Social Security’s Area Director’s office, thirty district and branch offices, five Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) offices, medical and psychological associations, legislative offices, the legal community and other state and local organizations. The objectives of the DDS are to “provide all persons applying for disability benefits with an accurate decision, processing their claim promptly and providing assistance to the public in a courteous, helpful manner.”
Tennessee Social Security Disability Statistics
In 2011, the Tennessee DDS only initially approved 24.4% of disability claims submitted by the citizens of the state. This is much lower than the national average of 32.1%. In addition, only 8.7% of additional claims were approved on the reconsideration level, whereas the national average is 11.3%.
In 2013, the numbers improved slightly. Tennessee DDS approved 34.7% of claims at the initial stage, but that is still lower than the national average that year of 42.8%. At the reconsideration level, DDS approved another 11.7% of claims, again still lower than the national average of 15.0%.
However, Social Security disability claims heard in front of an administrative law judge had much more favorable results. In 2011, Tennessee administrative judges awarded benefits in 62.9% of the cases they heard. Of those approvals, 59.4% were fully favorable and 3.5% were partially favorable. In 2013, the administrative judges approved 62.4% of the disability claims, with 57.9% fully favorable and 4.5% partially favorable.
In 2011, it took on average a total of 376 days from the time of the request for a hearing to the date that the case was decided by an administrative judge in Tennessee. This is in comparison to the national average wait time of 349 days. In 2013, the wait time increased to 417 days for a decision by an administrative judge in the state, compared to 374 days on average nationally.
Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney Today
Social Security disability benefits can be the financial lifeline that you need, but the process of receiving benefits can be lengthy and complex. If you or someone that you know has questions about Social Security disability benefits in the Nashville area, let the experienced attorneys at Calhoun Law, PLC help you fight for your rights to compensation. Call or contact the office today for a consultation of your case.