If you suffer from a devastating injury or illness, you may need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. These are federal programs, but states differ in how many claims are approved and how long it takes for a claim to be decided. At Matt Hardin Law, our Social Security and injury lawyers can guide residents of Nashville, and other communities through the process. Matt Hardin Law has offices in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Cookeville and Memphis to help assist you with your Disability Claim. If your initial claim has been denied, we will help you with an appeal.
SSDI claims are complex, and getting a positive outcome when applying for benefits or appealing a denial requires an in-depth knowledge of the law and the way the Social Security Administration reviews benefits claims. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville SSDI attorneys have years of experience helping people who are too sick or injured to work get the money they deserve.
To find out more about how we help people just like you win their SSDI appeals, or to simply become more familiar with the appeals process, check out the links below for more information:
If you’re filing for SSDI benefits for the first time or your claim was just denied and you’re wondering what to do next, our frequently asked questions page can help. Here you’ll find answers to questions ranging from who may qualify to receive SSDI benefits and how much money you can receive, to the most common reasons that claims are denied. If you have additional questions about your SSDI claim, don’t hesitate to contact our law firm.
Although SSDI covers a wide variety of injuries and illnesses that prevent people from working, the majority of cases fall under several common conditions. This page has a list of some of the most common conditions that our clients suffer from that interferes with their ability to work and earn a living for their family. If your condition isn’t listed, there’s still a good chance you can qualify for benefits—especially if your illness or injury prevents you from working. Our Nashville attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify for SSDI based on your circumstances.
When someone applies for SSDI benefits, their claim goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for review. The SSA has strict criteria that it uses to determine whether a person applying is actually disabled, but that criteria also means that many valid claims get denied after the first application. Some of the main criteria used by the SSA include whether the applicant is physically or psychologically able to work, whether they can do the work they did before they got hurt or sick, and whether they are able to do any other type of work.
Many people may be unaware that SSDI benefits are separate from Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Although both are provided by the SSA, SSDI benefits are only given to people who have severe injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working, while SSI benefits are provided to U.S. citizens who are disabled, blind, or aged and have no other source of income. In some cases, people can receive both types of income at the same time. Our Nashville SSDI attorneys can help you find out if you’re eligible to receive both benefits concurrently.
Finding out that your claim for SSDI benefits was denied can be disappointing and frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. The SSA allows people who were denied benefits to appeal the decision through several steps. These steps go all the way from simply filing an appeal all the way up to filing a lawsuit in federal court to get your case heard. If you think your benefits application was unfairly denied, our legal team can review it and your medical condition to build an appeal that can maximize your chances of success with the SSA.
Getting approved for SSDI benefits right away or after an appeal doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re entitled to receive them for life. Changes in your circumstances, including your income or health status, may mean the loss of your benefits. However, losing your benefits doesn’t have to be permanent—especially if you feel that they were taken away from you in error. Let our attorneys know if your benefits were denied or reduced, and we’ll investigate the case to see if it’s possible to get them restored.
After you apply for SSDI, your application is sent to the Tennessee state disability agency known as Disability Determination Services (DDS). A disability examiner will make the initial determination of whether to award you benefits. When making this decision, one of the guides that disability examiners use is a list of impairments called the “Blue Book.” The evidence you present on your SSDI application must show that your impairment has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
Organized by body systems, this list describes impairments that are considered severe enough to stop an individual from working. Many of the conditions that are on the list are permanent or expected to lead to death, but some include a statement of duration. If your disability is on the list, the examiner will look at whether the impairment meets specific criteria to automatically qualify you for benefits.
If your condition is not in the list of impairments, that does not necessarily mean you are not disabled. It means that the examiner has to apply additional rules to decide whether to award benefits. The examiner will determine whether your impairments are equivalent to a similar listing in terms of the severity of your disability, which will be rated by degree of severity. If your impairment is more severe than that but does not equal a listing, the examiner will move on to the next step of seeing whether the impairments are so severe that you cannot do the work you did before.
The examiner will make the determination of how severe your impairments are by looking at your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). This is a measurement of your ability to exert yourself to work and whether any restrictions keep you from performing any type of work in any industry in the U.S. For example, with some disabilities you may be able to sit and work for three hours at a stretch, but you never will be able to lift heavy objects or walk any significant distance. Among other things, an examiner will look at your work history to see what type of job you are qualified to do and have experience doing.
A large amount of SSDI claims are denied. However, you can submit an appeal, called a Request for Reconsideration. If your appeal is denied, there is a second stage of appeals, during which you have a hearing before an administrative law judge. This process can take a significant amount of time, and it may be months before you find out whether your second appeal was successful.
If you are severely disabled in Tennessee, you may need to file for government benefits with the assistance of a skilled Nashville attorney. The SSDI process can be daunting, but lawyer Matt Hardin can help you understand your options. Contact him by calling (615) 200-1111 or sending a message through our online form.