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Do I Need an Attorney to Obtain Social Security Disability Benefits?

You don’t need an attorney to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, but it is well advised to consider engaging an attorney both before and after making application for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Studies show that the Social Security Administration is likely to deny 65% – 75% of initial claims, and that percentage is almost always higher in Tennessee. Many of these initial denials, however, are later approved on appeal, Having an experienced attorney assist in preparing your SSI or SSDI application or appealing your denial may increase your chances of obtaining approval of benefits by identifying additional evidence of your disability and presenting it in the most persuasive light possible.

What are the criteria for obtaining for SSA Disability and/or SSI benefits?

The Social Security Administration defines a “disability” as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of no less than 12 months.”

The SSA will consider you disabled if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before, as well as everyday activities.
  • You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s) and therefore cannot learn what the SSA determines to be gainful income.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Bristol Lawyers Provide Expert Legal Assistance in Tennessee & Virginia

During All Phases of SSD and/or SSI Application

At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC, our seasoned Social Security lawyers have the knowledge and resources to analyze complex medical documents. We are also experienced litigators who understand how to question expert witnesses and argue persuasively on your behalf. We are also one of the few firms in the Tri-Cities that will help you complete the original SSD paperwork and navigate your claim through the entire claims process.

 For SSDI and SSI benefits, approval rates in Tennessee are usually below average at the initial application and reconsideration stages. However, Tennessee’s average rate of approval at the disability hearing stage (in the Kingsport Hearing Office) is a lot higher than the national average.

 Guiding You Through The Appeals Process

Should your initial benefits application be denied, our experienced attorneys will guide you through three levels of appeal:

  1. Reconsideration –The SSA conducts a complete reconsideration of your application, along with any new evidence you submit to bolster your claims of disability.
  2. Hearing — An administrative law judge conducts a court hearing to consider your SSD claim. The hearing often involves the testimony of medical and vocational experts. The SSA introduces its evidence, and you will have the opportunity to do the same.
  3. Review by the Appeals Council — The Social Security’s Appeals Council may grant review of your claim, but is not required to do so. If it decides to hear your case, it will typically issue a decision to affirm or reverse the administrative law judge’s denial. It may also order the administrative law judge to conduct another hearing.
  4. Federal court review — The final option involves filing a lawsuit in the United States District Court where you reside, but we do not handle these since they are not usually very fruitful. Also, you can always re-apply, though that can change certain results if you do win.

To learn more about qualifying for Social Security disability benefits and/or SSI in Tennessee or Virginia, contact an experienced Bristol attorney. Call Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.

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  • Bristol Office
    777 Anderson Street
    Bristol, Tennessee 37620
    Phone: 423-797-6022
    Fax: 423-764-1179
  • "Myers Massengill II has represented me for the last four years in my original divorce case and in subsequent returns for other issues..." "  -Shirley Schultz

  • "When we were in crucial need of both knowledge and competency due to a legal situation, Mr. Myers Massengill of this firm spent the time we needed..."  -Geoff Stunkard

  • "Throughout my two years working with Mr. Massengill, I was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy..."  -Debbie Compton

  • "Mr. L. Carter Massengill handled my case with the utmost courtesy, efficiency and professionalism... "  -Karla Jolene Leybold

  • "Mr.Carter Massengill and staff most respectful and nicest people to help quickly resolve your legal issues and with a positive outcome..."  -Brandon Thorpe

  • "Carter's assistance in navigating the complicated path through the Disability appeals process was instrumental in her approval. We can't thank him enough."  -Scott S.

  • "Thank you for helping me win my case. "  -Jenna.

  • "I am very pleased with the service from Myers and his staff. Very professional and personable at the same time . I felt like my case mattered to them . I would highly recommend their services (and a special thank you to Pam guys have been so helpful)"  -Rhonda.

  • "Carter Massengill did an excellent job helping me with my disability. He did a great job along with his assistant Sandra. Honest and helpful people to deal with. I would definitely recommend him."  -Patty.

  • "Attorney Carter Massengill is hands down one of the most trustworthy and genuine individuals you will ever meet. Rest assured that you are in good hands and that he is going to do everything in his power to take the best care of you and your case, along with expediting the process as quickly as possible. It's rare that an attorney possesses such great attributes in the sense that he is easy to talk to and when he says he is going to get something done, he does it! His office staff is the best. They know their clients and have excellent communication skills. It helps when you are going through a difficult situation. They are a great team and you would be very fortunate to have them represent you! We were able to settle out of court for exactly what we were asking for and this was with me having pre existing pain from fibromyalgia. I am extremely blessed to have hired such a wonderful attorney."  -C.M.