How to File for Social Security Disability
The first step to securing Social Security disability benefits in Tennessee is preparing and filing your application. You may file via phone or in person at your local Social Security office. There are 30 offices spread throughout Tennessee, and the Social Security website has an office locator function to help you find the one closest to you.
You can also file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) online. This is the fastest way. You must complete the application, along with a medical release form and the disability medical report form before submitting it to the Social Security Administration. You cannot, however, file for supplemental security income (SSI) online, so you must begin that type of claim by contacting your local Social Security office to review your eligibility.
Who makes the decisions on Social Security applications?
After you have completed your application in Tennessee, it goes to the Nashville Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. A disability examiner is then assigned to your claim to gather and analyze your medical records, schedule any necessary consultative examinations, and ultimately determine whether you are eligible for benefits.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to a reconsideration appeal—and you should exercise that right. In many cases, it takes at least one appeal before you are finally approved for benefits.
When you file the appeal, a second examiner will follow the same guidelines as the first. To that end, it is important to provide new and convincing evidence that you need disability benefits if you want to avoid getting the same result. Reconsideration appeals are often used as a stepping stone to get to a hearing with an administrative law judge, where you have a much greater chance of approval.
To learn more about applying and/or appealing for Social Security disability benefits in Virginia or Tennessee, speak with 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.