The Social Security Disability application process can be difficult and time-consuming. Unfortunately, many people who apply for social security disability are initially denied. There is an appeals process, but this can take months or years to complete.

It is possible to file for Social Security Disability in Tennessee without an attorney. However, statistics show that individuals who file without an attorney are more likely to be denied the social security disability benefits.

Let’s walk through the Social Security Disability Application Process together:

Step 1: Final the Initial Application

You can apply for Tennessee Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in one of three ways:

  • In person at a local office
  • Call a representative at 800-772-1213
  • Fill out an application online 

The initial filing takes 90-120 days to complete. Only about 30% of applicants are accepted at this stage. If you are denied, your next option to request reconsideration.

Step 2: Reconsideration

If your initial application is denied, you have 60 days to apply for reconsideration. This review process can take 3-5 months to complete. Unfortunately, only about 15% of applicants are accepted at this stage.

Step 3: Hearing 

The second phase of the appeals process is a hearing. If your application was denied during the reconsideration step, you have 60 days to request a hearing.

Your application will go to a judge, who can accept, deny, or send your application back for review. This is a long stage, and the entire process of requesting, scheduling, and completing a hearing can take 2 years.

The good news? Over 60% of applicants are approved at this stage.

Step 4: Appeals Council

However, if your application was denied during the hearing, your next option is to take your claim to the Appeals Council. This can take 6-12 months to complete. Less than 5% of applications are approved by the Appeals Council.

Step 5: Federal District Court

The final step (if your application has been denied so far) is to appeal to the Federal District Court. This court can decide to approve, deny, or send your application back for review.  About 30% of applications are approved at this stage.

Why Should You Hire an Attorney

As you can see, applying for Social Security Disability is a complicated process. And although you can file alone, you don’t need to. Consider hiring an experienced attorney to help navigate this complex process.

An experienced attorney makes filing for SSDI a smooth process because they:

  • have experienced with the courts
  • want you to receive SSDI
  • can give you the right advice and prepare you for the judge’s questions

Working with an attorney gives you a better chance of receiving SSDI. One report showed that 28% of applicants who filed with an attorney were approved during the initial step (as opposed to the 20% who were approved without an attorney). 50% of applicants with an attorney were approved during the hearing stage. Only 23% of applicants were approved without an attorney.

If you have questions about Social Security Disability, contact Perry H (Chip) Windle III today. He is an experienced attorney who has successfully helped many clients receive SSDI. With over 30 years of experience, he understands this process and is ready to help. Contact us today.