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How is an SSD claim processed in Tennessee?

Most Social Security Disability claimants in Tennessee know that a person who needs SSD benefits must go through an application process. But, who exactly reviews the application and how is it processed?

Initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are received by the Social Security Administration. These applications are not sent to one office in Washington, however. Rather, they are sent to Social Security representatives in local field offices found all throughout the country, including in Tennessee. The representatives in these offices will review the application to make sure that the proper non-medical requirements are met.

After this review, the Social Security field office will forward the application to a state agency to make the determination of disability. Here in Tennessee, the agency is the Tennessee Disability Determination Services, which is a part of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. The agency will use the information in the claimant's medical file to make the determination of disability. If necessary, the agency may request that the claimant undergo a consultative examination to develop the medical evidence required to make a decision.

After reviewing the file, the agency staff will make the determination of disability and forward the file and decision back to the Social Security field office. If the claimant was found to be disabled, the field office staff will calculate the benefit amount and will start making payments to the claimant. If the claimant was not found to be disabled on initial determination, the field office staff will keep the claimant's information on file in anticipation of an appeal.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Determination Process," accessed on July 30, 2017

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