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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.
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 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 Office||3461 South Third St|
Memphis, TN 38109
|Gallatin SSA Office||637 Commons Drive|
Gallatin, TN 37066
|Nashville SSA Office||120 Athens Way|
Nashville, TN 37228
|Memphis SSA Office||1330 Monroe Avenue|
Memphis, TN 38104
|Knoxville SSA Office||9031 Cross Park Dr|
Knoxville, TN 37923
|Chattanooga SSA Office||1290 Premier Dr Suite 140|
Chattanooga, TN 37421
|Columbia SSA Office||1885 Shady Brook St|
Columbia, TN 38401
|Dyersburg SSA Office||1070 Vendall Rd|
Dyersburg, TN 38024
|Jackson SSA Office||415 Cheyenne Dr|
Jackson, TN 38305
|Johnson City SSA Office||818 Sunset Drive Suite 203|
Johnson City, TN 37604
|Cookeville SSA Office||1145 Perimeter Park Dr|
Cookeville, TN 38501
|Clarksville SSA Office||119 Center Pointe Dr|
Clarksville, TN 37040
|Greeneville SSA Office||1618 Old Tusculum Road|
Greeneville, TN 37745
|Morristown SSA Office||3112 Millers Point Dr|
Morristown, TN 37813
|Tullahoma SSA Office||717 Kings Lane|
Tullahoma, TN 37388
|Murfreesboro SSA Office||2836 Saint Patrick Ct|
Murfreesboro, TN 37128
|Kingsport SSA Office||2401 South Wilcox Dr|
Kingsport, TN 37660
|Jacksboro SSA Office||140 Sharp Perkins Rd|
Jacksboro, TN 37757
|Cleveland SSA Office||529 Inman St W|
Cleveland, TN 37311
|Paris SSA Office||186 Commerce St|
Paris, TN 38242
|Oak Ridge SSA Office||565 Oak Ridge Tpke|
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
|Union City SSA Office||1800 Old Troy Rd|
Union City, TN 38261
|Lawrenceburg SSA Office||109 E Taylor Street|
Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
|McMinnville SSA Office||900 Sparta St|
McMinnville, TN 37110
|Madison SSA Office||140 Cude Lane|
Madison, TN 37115
|Memphis North SSA Office||3602 Austin Peay Hwy|
Memphis, TN 38128
|Athens SSA Office||921 Congress Pkwy N|
Athens, TN 37303
|Selmer SSA Office||661 Mulberry Ave|
Selmer, TN 38375
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 – Chattanooga||1232 Premier Drive Suite 200|
Chattanooga, TN 37421
|SSA Hearing Office – Franklin||6840 Carothers Parkway Suite 350|
Franklin, TN 37067-6538
|SSA Hearing Office – Kingsport||2405 South Wilcox Drive|
Kingsport, TN 37660
|SSA Hearing Office – Knoxville||135 Circle Lane|
Knoxville, TN 37919
|SSA Hearing Office – Memphis||309 Monroe Avenue|
Memphis, TN 38103
|SSA Hearing Office – Nashville||221 Cumberland Bend|
Nashville, TN 37228-1803