Filing for SSI or Disability Benefits in Tennessee: What to Expect

Filing for SSI or Disability Benefits in Tennessee: What to ExpectAre you or someone you know trying to file for Security Supplement Income or Disability in Tennessee? Here are a few tips for Tennessee residents when applying. These all come from personal experience of going through the process with my husband.

First of all, do not take it on yourself to file. Hire a lawyer before you even begin. In the state of Tennessee there are few if any persons who have gotten SSI or Disability without a lawyer. Make certain that the lawyer you choose is very knowledgeable about the SSI/Disability Process. It is best to find an attorney that specializes in just this area. Some attorneys have even worked for SSI and Disability in the past. In fact, my husband had an attorney was actually a judge for SSI and Disability at one time.

Second, be prepared to file all sorts of paperwork. However, that is one job the lawyer should do is to help you fill these out. There is some paperwork that you will have to fill out on your own, but make sure your attorney knows what it is and what you are answering. The best bet is to let the attorney look at the paperwork before you send it back in.

What should you expect the paperwork to ask you? You will be asked things such as a record of your last 10 years of employment, what your jobs were, what your jobs required, what you had to do at your jobs, and so forth. You will be asked (over and over) exactly what is wrong with you that is making you file for SSI or Disability. Here is a tip, make a list of all your ailments, medications, doctors (including addresses and phone numbers), and anything that is pertinent to your case. After you have made these lists you keep about three and give one to your attorney. You will always be asked for three to five persons who know about you and your condition. Usually, this can be family members; just check with your attorney.

You should be prepared to see one of their doctors and psychiatrists. These doctors will examine you to see if you are truly disabled. Now remember, these doctors are on the side of SSI and Disability. Be prepared when they report that you are able to work at some type of job. They will almost certainly do this the first time. Here is a tip on visiting the SSI Doctors and Psychiatrists, you are going to have to prove to them you are disabled. Since you are sick, make sure they know that without a doubt. Tell them every single thing that is wrong with you even if it is a hangnail or acne. Do not leave anything out. If they ask you to rate your pain from one to ten, ask them if ten is as high as it goes. This is not to be funny, it is the best thing to do.

You can almost always guarantee a turn down the first time. If you are not called for a hearing, you are almost certain to get denied. If you do not respond to their requests, you will definitely get denied. If you miss a hearing without a very good reason, you will definitely without a doubt get denied.

If you are denied you will have 60 days to file an appeal or have your attorney file one. You will be able to file as many appeals as you wish as long as it is done within that 60 day period. If you miss that time period, the whole process starts completely over.

When you find out you have a hearing, this means you are closer than ever (hopefully). When you go for your hearing do not let them intimidate you. Make sure your lawyer is with you at the hearing. Answer their questions truthfully and in complete detail. Again, tell the judge every single thing that is wrong with you. Do not leave anything out. Your lawyer should get with you about a week or so before the hearing and let you know what to expect and say. Listen to him/her and do everything they tell you.

Be prepared to have to visit their doctors at least twice during the process especially if your case is pending for over two years. You will go one time during the regular process and then another time during the appeals process. This is not the case with every person. It just depends on how long it is taking you. You are usually sent to two different doctors.

Now I am not trying to be negative and bring people down, I am just trying to be honest. You can plan on the entire process taking at least one year and up to five or more years. It actually took my husband seven years to get his. So just be prepared when filing for SSI or Disability. You will have to “fight” to win your case. You will probably not do it the first time around. And never try to get it without a lawyer.

I hope this will help you a little when you are filing for SSI or Disability in the state of Tennessee.


Personal experience with my husband