There are nearly four million residents living in the State of Tennessee. Approximately 5.7 percent of these residents receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Each and every year, thousands more will apply for benefits due to a long-term or permanent disability. Unfortunately, the majority of these applicants will be denied disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process. These applicants must then go on to appeal the SSA's decision to deny their disability claim – a process that can take some Tennessee Social Security Disability applicants more than two years to complete.
The first stage of the disability appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. Unfortunately, fewer than 20 percent of these appeals are decided in favor of disability applicants. The second stage of appeals is when a Tennessee Social Security Disability applicant has the greatest chance of being awarded disability benefits from the SSA. However, it can take Tennessee Social Security Disability applicants anywhere from 256 to 447 days to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge. It then takes another two to three months after the hearing to find out whether or not the judge presiding over your disability case has decided in your favor.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the SSA agency that handles Social Security Disability hearings. The area of Tennessee that you live in determines which ODAR office will handle your hearing and impacts how long you must wait for that hearing to be scheduled. The ODAR offices that handle the hearings for Tennessee Social Security Disability applicants are as follows:
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Kingsport, Tennessee
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Nashville, Tennessee
The Chattanooga ODAR office is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Athens, Chattanooga, Cleveland and Tullahoma. It takes this office an average of 363 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Kingsport ODAR office manages the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Greenville, Kingsport, Johnson City and Morristown. It takes this office an average of 256 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Knoxville ODAR office is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Cookeville, Knoxville, La Follette, Maryville, McMinnville and Oak Ridge. It takes this office an average of 373 days to schedule a hearing for a disability applicant.
The Memphis ODAR office manages the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Dyersburg, Jackson, Memphis Downtown, Memphis East, Memphis North, Memphis South, Selmer and Union City. The average processing time for this ODAR office is 442 days.
The Nashville ODAR office schedules the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Gallatin, Lawrenceburg, Madison, Murfreesboro, Nashville and Paris. It takes this office an average of 447 days to schedule a disability hearing for Tennessee Social Security Disability applicants.
Hiring a Tennessee Social Security Disability Attorney
While the wait times for disability hearings in Tennessee are not as severe as the wait times in other areas of the nation, many applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the lengthy disability appeal process. For most Tennessee Social Security Disability applicants, the only way to avoid waiting for a hearing before an administrative law judge is to be awarded benefits during the initial stage of the disability claim process. For applicants who want to increase their chances of doing this, retaining the services of a qualified Tennessee Social Security Disability lawyer may be the answer.
When working with a Tennessee Social Security Disability attorney, your attorney will ensure that your claim for benefits is submitted in the best light possible to the SSA and that you have all of the medical evidence necessary to support your disability case. This will increase your chances of being awarded benefits at the initial stage of the application process and will possibly help you avoid the need for a disability appeal. If, for some reason, your application is denied by the SSA, your Tennessee Social Security Disability attorney can support and represent you during the disability appeal process.
If your application for disability benefits is denied, you will more than likely have to appear before an administrative law judge in order to obtain the disability benefits you may be rightfully entitled to. While you are allowed to represent yourself at the hearing, statistics show that your chances of being awarded benefits are much greater with proper legal representation. The good news is that this representation does not have to cause you any added financial stress. Tennessee Social Security Disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, collecting either 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA or $6,000 (whichever is less). If you do not win your disability case, your attorney does not get paid. Not only does this make hiring a Tennessee Social Security Disability lawyer more affordable, but it also provides your lawyer with an incentive to represent you to the best of his or her ability.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Tennessee Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.