Nashville Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you’ve been disabled in Nashville, Tennessee, as the result of an injury or illness, you may be eligible to collect Social Security benefits. Social Security disability is paid to those who are unable to earn a living or provide for their family due to a catastrophic injury or disability.
In order to receive the benefits, you must go through an application process. The application is initially reviewed by Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and state agencies. If the administrative office denies the application, you may have the option to appeal the decision. The Nashville Social Security disability lawyers at NST Law can help.
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What is Social Security disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you’re insured, meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
The program provides monthly benefits to eligible disabled Americans whose conditions prevent them from working for at least 12 months. To receive the benefits, you must apply and meet certain requirements.
Who qualifies for Social Security disability benefits?
Anyone who is too disabled to work and currently in need of financial assistance to make ends meet may apply for SSDI. To qualify, you must prove that you’re unable to perform your current or similar job duties for at least one year. Your disability cannot be partial or short-term.
You must also meet the SSA’s definition for disability, including the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity because of medically determinable physical or mental impairments that have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or result in death. Additionally, you must be younger than retirement age.
The administration has a Listing of Impairments that includes automatic qualifying disabilities. If your injury or illness is not included on this list, the SSA must make a decision to determine if it’s severe enough to qualify as a disability.
Compassionate allowances, such as acute leukemia, pancreatic cancer, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), are screened by computer technology to make fast determinations. A second initiative used to efficiently process new claims is called Quick Disability Determinations (QDD). These computer-based predictive models are intended to help ensure accuracy and expedite claims for the most severe disabilities.
What injuries are considered disabling?
There are a number of injuries that may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. Any injury or disability that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity may potentially allow you to qualify for disability. Injuries recognized by the SSA as disabling are categorized. A few categories include:
- Respiratory system disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Injuries to speech
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Neoplastic diseases
- Hematological disorders
Generally, if a disability or disease prevents you from working for up to a year, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
How can I apply for Social Security disability benefits?
The easiest and quickest way to begin applying for Social Security disability benefits in Nashville is to contact an experienced lawyer at NST Law. Our legal team can assist you in preparing your application and guide you through the process to ensure that you receive the highest disability benefits available to you.
Before applying for Social Security disability benefits, you’ll need to prepare and organize your documentation. The initial application will ask you for details on your work history, your current medical treatment, a statement of how your disability affects your life, and your educational history.
You’ll need copies of all of your medical records, including office visits, surgeries or other procedures, and lab tests. These documents constitute the core of the evidence that the Social Security Administration will use as a basis for granting or denying benefits.
Once all of your records are collected, they’ll need to be reviewed to determine if your injury, illness, disease, or a combination of those impairments qualify as a disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.
Our legal team at NST Law can review your application to ensure that it’s complete, organized, and clear in its statement of the disability with supporting medical evidence.
How long does my application take?
The SSA has two classifications for Social Security disability claims. These include expedited and general claims. Expedited claims are available for those with terminal illnesses or those that are on the Compassionate Allowance List. Generally, processing takes place and a decision is made within 30 days.
General claims receive a decision from the SSA within three to five months on average. Those individuals who seek Social Security disability benefits on a general claim may be less likely to be approved on the basis of their initial claim.
Thus, having a lawyer who is experienced and understands Social Security disability laws is very beneficial when preparing your application.
How can I check my status once I have filed a claim?
There are several ways that you may check on your disability claim status.
The Social Security Administration has an Application Status Information page that includes the date they received your application, any requests for additional documents, the address of the office processing your information, and whether a decision has been made. Going online is often the quickest way to determine your status.
Call Social Security
You can contact the Social Security Administration office through their main, toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213.
It’s also possible to contact your local Social Security office and ask a representative to check your claim’s status. A representative should be able to pull up your file and provide you with more information.
What factors determine whether my claim is approved or denied?
The SSA will make a decision on your claim based on the information that you provide. To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet their definition of a disability and be able to prove that you’re unable to work for at least a year.
Additionally, a denial of benefits can result if:
- You lack medical evidence of your disability
- You received a previous denial of benefits
- You still have substantial income (over the allowable limit)
- You failed to follow all treatment recommendations
- You fail to cooperate with the Social Security office throughout the application process
- Your application included mistakes, missing information, or misrepresentations
A lawyer can assist you in preparing your application and gathering documents to support your claim.
What proof do I need for my disability?
You will be required to provide the SSA with all medical documentation related to your disability. This may include official diagnoses, test results, proof of office visits, any surgeries that you’ve undergone, and any other relevant information. You can obtain most documentation from your health care provider.
How much will my Social Security disability benefits be?
Your disability benefit payments are determined by your lifetime average earnings before you become unable to work. Your benefit amount is calculated through your covered earnings. Covered earnings are what you earned at jobs where your employer made deductions for Social Security.
The SSA bases your monthly disability payment on your average covered earnings over a period of time, which is called average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). The amounts are used in a formula to determine your primary insurance amount. For 2022, the most you can receive monthly from Social Security disability insurance is $3,450.
What if my claim for Social Security disability benefits is denied?
If your claim for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you’ll need to find out why. Common reasons for denial include:
Lack of Medical Evidence
You’ll need solid medical evidence documenting your disability and how that disability prevents you from working. If your claim doesn’t provide enough evidence, it may be denied. A solid connection between your disability and your inability to earn must be proven.
Too High of Earnings
Disability benefits are meant for those who cannot work. If you’re still working and earning an income, you may be ineligible for benefits. Contact a Social Security disability lawyer at NST Law for further assistance with your claim.
Not Following Treatment Advice
If there are gaps in your medical care, or you are otherwise not following your doctor’s advice for treatment, your application will be denied.
You must show that you’re consistently receiving appropriate treatment per your doctor’s orders to be eligible for benefits. Ensure that you continue taking all prescribed medications and attending office visits as required.
Incomplete Documentation or Application
If your application doesn’t contain all of the required documentation and evidence, it may be denied. Missing documentation can include medical records, pay stubs, or other required information. Your application must be fully complete to be reviewed by the SSA.
Why should I hire NST Law for my Social Security disability benefits application?
The Nashville attorneys at NST Law are knowledgeable of the Social Security disability application process and can help you ensure that your application is complete and contains all of the relevant documentation needed to approve your case.
We are also able to assist those whose initial applications have been denied. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
NST Law is available to answer any questions you may have throughout the Social Security disability application process.
A person who receives disability benefits may work part-time or in a low-wage position if their earnings are below the amount of what the SSA defines as substantial gainful activity. In 2022, this amount is $1,350 per month. However, it’s possible for your benefits to be reduced if you decide to work.
SSDI is available to those individuals who have paid Social Security taxes through their working lives and become disabled. SSI does not have a prior work requirement, is funded through general tax revenue, and is available to those who have few or no financial resources. Generally, SSDI benefits are higher than SSI benefits.
You can either file a new application or appeal the one you’ve already submitted. However, you should consult with an attorney to determine your best course of action. In some cases, it may be best to file an appeal, especially if a decision was made due to lack of supporting evidence.
Your lawyer is normally paid a percentage of your past-due benefit payments after your application has been approved.
However, since many SSDI claims are initially denied if they’re filed without legal assistance, it’s generally worth obtaining the services of an experienced lawyer who can ensure all relevant documentation and evidence is provided with your application.