Tennessee is one of the toughest states in the US for those making Social Security disability claims. While it isn’t easy to pass a claim through on the first pass anywhere in the country (nationally, 67.9% of initial claims are disapproved), it’s especially hard in Tennessee, where 74.9% of initial disability claims are turned down. There is an appeals process, consisting of several steps. The first step is reconsideration, in which you make a written appeal, challenging the SSA’s decision to deny your claim. 91.1% of the time, the denial of benefits is upheld in Tennessee (87.4% nationally). The next step is a hearing before an administrative law judge. The SSA has six hearing offices in which you can present your appeal. There are located in Kingsport, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, and Franklin.
Your hearing is your best opportunity to make the case that you should be considered completely disabled. It is the only opportunity you have to present the facts in front of an actual representative of the SSA (an administrative law judge) who is allowed to use his or her judgment on your individual claim. Nationally, 57.8% of hearings end in an approval of benefits. In Tennessee, the numbers are even more in your favor, with 66.3% of claimants receiving an award of benefits. Tennessee residents wait 334 days, on average, to receive their hearing before an ALJ. Nationally, the average wait is 350 days. Award rates and wait times are different from one hearing office to the next. In Tennessee, they break down like this:
|Hearing Office||Approval Rate||Processing Time in Days|
All of Tennessee’s appeals hearings are handled by 67 administrative law judges. Some of them work from multiple hearing offices. Most work from a single office. Nashville has fifteen ALJs, Franklin has ten, Memphis has twelve, Knoxville has fifteen, Chattanooga has twelve, and Kingsport has nine. You only get one chance at a hearing, and the hearing represents your best chance of being awarded benefits. It pays to do it right. The best way to approach a disability hearing is to use the services of a local Social Security lawyer. Disability lawyers are familiar with the ALJs who handle claims in their vicinity, and will be able to help you establish a case that will be compelling to the ALJ assigned to your claim. For more info on hiring an attorney in your area, click on one of the cities below:
- Chattanooga, TN
- Clarksville, TN
- Johnson City, TN
- Knoxville, TN
- Memphis, TN
- Murfreesboro, TN
- Nashville, TN
You can receive a free initial consultation with a Social Security lawyer in your area. All you need to do is submit the form on this website and a disability lawyer will contact you. There is no charge for your initial consultation. In most cases, the SSA will pay your lawyer directly if you are awarded for benefits.