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Tennessee Disability Benefits

In addition to state services, adults in Tennessee may also qualify for federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Tennessee provides Social Security benefits for its residents with disabilities. These benefits range from vocational rehabilitation and training to technological access to blind and deaf services. In addition to state services, adults in Tennessee may also qualify for federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Although SSDI and SSI are federal programs, they are each administered by state agencies. The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) oversees this process through the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Tennessee has 28 Social Security offices and six Offices of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).

Facts About Tennessee

Tennessee’s disability rates are higher than the national average in almost every indicator, making it essential that those who need assistance can find it. In Tennessee, 29.5% of residents have some kind of disability compared with the national average of 25.6%. Of these, only 5.7% receive federal benefits. The most common types of disabilities in Tennessee are mobility and cognitive. It’s important to know that even if you have a disability, you still retain all your civil rights and should always attempt to apply for SSDI.

How To Qualify for SSDI in Tennessee

To qualify for SSDI in Tennessee, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • You’ve worked for long enough as an employee or as self-employed and paid into Social Security taxes
  • If you’re currently working while collecting disability payments, you cannot earn over $1,310 a month
  • You have a “severe” condition that limits your ability to perform work for at least 12 months.  This can be a physical or intellectual disability, and those with a developmental disability can also qualify.
  • Your condition is listed here. These conditions have all been predetermined by the SSA to be severe enough to impair the ability to work.

Potential recipients should also note they have the right to reasonable accommodation by their employer if they do have a disability. But, even if all criteria are met, it’s still not guaranteed you’ll receive SSDI benefits. Other factors such as receiving workers’ compensation or a personal injury settlement can affect your eligibility, and it’s best to consult with a Social Security disability lawyer if this applies to you.

How To Apply for SSDI in Tennessee

There are three main ways to file for Social Security Disability: online, over the phone, or in person.

Before applying for Social Security disability benefits you’ll need to gather the following information:

  • Basic personal information like date and place of birth, marriage and divorce records, name and date of birth of minor children, and military records
  • Current employment or self-employment information, if applicable
  • Bank account routing information for direct deposit
  • Alternative point of contact who can certify your conditions
  • List of medical conditions along with medical records, test, and names of doctors
  • Job and education history

Apply online: File your application online at the federal Social Security site.

Over the phone: Apply by phone with the federal Social Security office at 800-772-1213.

In person: Contact your local Tennessee field office listed below for assistance. Most offices require that you make an appointment before showing up for help.

How To Appeal a Denial in Tennessee

It’s not uncommon for your first application to be denied for SSDI benefits, but you shouldn’t take no for a first answer. In Tennessee, there are four levels of the appeals process for filing a claim: reconsideration, hearing, Appeals Council, and federal court. This process is the same for a physical or intellectual disability claim.

Step 1: Reconsideration – Within 60 days of your initial denial, you can request a new SSA representative from the DDS to review the details of your initial claim to make a new determination.

Step 2: Disability Hearing – If your reconsideration was denied, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge within 60 days. This disability adjudication takes place in person at the closest hearing office available. Many claimants choose to or are asked to bring additional documentation about their disability, as well as providing witnesses who can attest to the disability. You may want to consult an attorney familiar with disability law for this step, but it is not required.

Step 3: Appeals Council – If your second appeal with the administrative law judge was denied, you have 60 days to request the Social Security Appeals Council review your case. This council will look at all preliminary decisions and decide if they’ll hear your case or if the previous decisions should be upheld.

Step 3: Federal Court – The last course of redress is to file a lawsuit by appealing to the district federal court. There are three district federal courts in Tennessee: The Eastern, Western, and Middle Districts.

For those whose disability application was denied after appealing, there is always the option of purchasing long-term disability insurance from a private provider.

More Tennessee Benefits


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program run by the SSA. SSI is available to disabled individuals of any age with limited income. If you are over 65 years old, you do not need to be disabled to qualify for SSI, you just need to meet low-income requirements.

In 2021 the maximum SSI monthly benefit is capped at $794 for an individual. SSI is not funded through Social Security tax, rather through general funds of the U.S. Treasury.

Tennessee Medicaid

Many people who qualify for SSI also qualify for Tennessee Medicaid, commonly referred to as TennCare. TennCare provides medical insurance benefits primarily for those 65 or older or with a disability if they meet certain income requirements. 

Many Medicaid recipients use this as their primary medical insurance, while others may choose to keep a private plan with an insurance company in addition to TennCare. Medicaid can cover services like doctor’s visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital visits, transportation, and home health care.

Tennessee Unemployment

Tennessee Unemployment benefits provide financial help to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The program pays up to $275 a week for those who qualify.

Tennessee Social Security Offices

SSA Field Office Locations in Tennessee
Memphis South SSA Office3461 South Third St
Memphis, TN 38109
(855) 782-9155
Gallatin SSA Office637 Commons Drive
Gallatin, TN 37066
(866) 964-7392
Nashville SSA Office120 Athens Way
Nashville, TN 37228
(877) 808-5461
Memphis SSA Office1330 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(866) 336-2212
Knoxville SSA Office9031 Cross Park Dr
Knoxville, TN 37923
(866) 331-9091
Chattanooga SSA Office1290 Premier Dr Suite 140
Chattanooga, TN 37421
(866) 964-0029
Columbia SSA Office1885 Shady Brook St
Columbia, TN 38401
(877) 876-3174
Dyersburg SSA Office1070 Vendall Rd
Dyersburg, TN 38024
(877) 480-5002
Jackson SSA Office415 Cheyenne Dr
Jackson, TN 38305
(888) 383-1593
Johnson City SSA Office818 Sunset Drive Suite 203
Johnson City, TN 37604
(866) 964-5059
Cookeville SSA Office1145 Perimeter Park Dr
Cookeville, TN 38501
(888) 717-1528
Clarksville SSA Office119 Center Pointe Dr
Clarksville, TN 37040
(877) 531-4695
Greeneville SSA Office1618 Old Tusculum Road
Greeneville, TN 37745
(877) 405-0416
Morristown SSA Office3112 Millers Point Dr
Morristown, TN 37813
(866) 875-6156
Tullahoma SSA Office717 Kings Lane
Tullahoma, TN 37388
(866) 635-0647
Murfreesboro SSA Office2836 Saint Patrick Ct
Murfreesboro, TN 37128
(866) 593-3112
Kingsport SSA Office2401 South Wilcox Dr
Kingsport, TN 37660
(888) 487-0161
Jacksboro SSA Office140 Sharp Perkins Rd
Jacksboro, TN 37757
(866) 964-7324
Cleveland SSA Office529 Inman St W
Cleveland, TN 37311
(855) 207-4867
Paris SSA Office186 Commerce St
Paris, TN 38242
(866) 698-2507
Oak Ridge SSA Office565 Oak Ridge Tpke
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
(888) 676-2954
Union City SSA Office1800 Old Troy Rd
Union City, TN 38261
(877) 401-5904
Lawrenceburg SSA Office109 E Taylor Street
Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
(877) 405-5866
McMinnville SSA Office900 Sparta St
McMinnville, TN 37110
(877) 616-2515
Madison SSA Office140 Cude Lane
Madison, TN 37115
(866) 964-6302
Memphis North SSA Office3602 Austin Peay Hwy
Memphis, TN 38128
(855) 420-8557
Athens SSA Office921 Congress Pkwy N
Athens, TN 37303
(866) 964-7431
Selmer SSA Office661 Mulberry Ave
Selmer, TN 38375
(888) 397-4814

Tennessee Hearing and Appeal Offices

Tennessee is in Region 4 (Atlanta), which services Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Region 4 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Tennessee
SSA Hearing Office – Chattanooga1232 Premier Drive Suite 200
Chattanooga, TN 37421
(877) 833-2721
SSA Hearing Office – Franklin6840 Carothers Parkway Suite 350
Franklin, TN 37067-6538
(866) 568-9450
SSA Hearing Office – Kingsport2405 South Wilcox Drive
Kingsport, TN 37660
(888) 632-6913
SSA Hearing Office – Knoxville135 Circle Lane
Knoxville, TN 37919
(877) 692-3141
SSA Hearing Office – Memphis309 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(866) 348-5830
SSA Hearing Office – Nashville221 Cumberland Bend
Nashville, TN 37228-1803
(877) 583-4103

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