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Tennessee disability benefits

How Much Are Disability Benefits in Tennessee?

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
March 29, 2024  ·  3 min read
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In Tennessee, more than 250,000 individuals benefit from disability payments. While Tennessee doesn't offer its own statewide disability insurance program for short-term needs, residents can turn to federal options for long-term support. These include the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. 

The amount you can receive in monthly benefits depends on several factors. We’ll explain how benefits are calculated and go over the maximum and average payments for Tennessee disability recipients.


How much are Social Security disability benefits in Tennessee?

In 2024, the maximum payment amount for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is $3,822. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an individual can receive up to $943 monthly. 

The exact payment amounts depend on a few factors, like your work history and income. On average, an SSDI recipient in Tennessee can expect to receive $1,678 per month, and an SSI recipient $599 monthly.

In addition to monthly cash benefits, Social Security benefits include healthcare coverage. SSDI recipients automatically qualify for Medicare, and SSI recipients for Medicaid.

Learn more about the eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI in our extensive guide

Disability benefits in Tennessee

How is Social Security Disability Insurance calculated in Tennessee?

The calculation of SSDI benefits begins with your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME), which reflects your earnings over the years, adjusted for inflation. This step ensures that the Social Security Administration accounts for changes in the cost of living.  The next crucial step involves determining your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) by dividing your AIME into three segments, with each segment being multiplied by a different percentage.

The calculation is complex, but it is designed to accurately reflect your contributions to Social Security over your working years. Essentially, the amount you receive is directly tied to how much you've earned and contributed to the system.

For a more detailed breakdown of how these calculations are made, including the specific percentages applied to each segment of your AIME, refer to this in-depth guide on calculating SSDI payments


How is Supplemental Security Income calculated in Tennessee?

The SSA determines SSI payment amounts by evaluating your financial need rather than your work history. The SSA starts with the maximum federal benefit rate ($943 in 2024) and subtracts any countable income you might have. This method ensures that SSI serves as a safety net for those who need it most, adjusting the benefit based on other income sources to reflect your financial situation accurately.

Countable income includes more than just wages. It can include different forms of passive income, benefits from other programs, and even the economic value of living arrangements provided by others. However, not all income is counted directly against the SSI benefit amount. For example, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do not count as income for SSI.

To understand how your SSI benefits are calculated, including what the SSA considers as countable income, read this detailed guide: How Much Can I Make on SSDI or SSI in 2024?

We've helped 3,524 Tennesseans applying for benefits.

Do I need a disability lawyer in Tennessee?

There is no mandate to have a disability lawyer to apply for disability benefits. That said, working with a lawyer can be advantageous. A disability lawyer can help you complete your initial application, gather medical records, help you file an appeal, and even represent you in court. Working with a disability lawyer increases your chances of winning benefits by three times.

What does a disability lawyer cost?

Generally, disability lawyers operate on a contingency basis, meaning they only collect fees if you win your case. This fee is capped at 25% of your initial benefits payment or $7,200, whichever is less.

There are no upfront costs to working with Atticus. You pay nothing upfront and nothing ongoing. Call us today, get free personalized advice about your options, and get introduced to a lawyer if you’d like.

Atticus law firms in Tennessee

Here are a few Atticus lawyers in the state:

Disability Consulting

Downard and Associates

Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Garrety

1424 W Baddour Pkwy., Suite F, Lebanon, Tennessee 37087

822 Wren Rd., Goodlettsville, Tennessee 37072

65 Stonebridge Blvd., Jackson, Tennessee 38305

"This was the most professional experience from people who truly made me feel at ease and genuinely show compassion for the people they represent." - Atticus client

"What made my experience great is having really good representation, and I have a lot of confidence in that they'll do a great job in handling my case, thank you Atticus for your recommendation finding Downard and Associates for me." - Forest L., Atticus client

"Quick & easy. Informative. Excellent, compassionate & helpful service. Wonderful follow up. Terrific match with law firm that I'm already finding to be a positive, comforting experience." - R. C., Atticus client


SSA offices in Tennessee

You can visit your local SSA office to apply for disability benefits in person. Tennessee has 28 SSA field offices, from Chattanooga to Nashville and Clarksville to Memphis. Find the location and phone number of the office nearest you:

Athens

921 Congress Pkwy N

Athens, TN 37303

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-7431

Fax Number: (833) 597-0068

Chattanooga

1290 Premier Dr Ste 140

Chattanooga, TN 37421

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-0029

Fax Number: (833) 597-0086

Clarksville

119 Center Pointe Dr

Clarksville, TN 37040

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 531-4695

Fax Number: (833) 597-0134

Cleveland

529 Inman St W

Cleveland, TN 37311

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 207-4867

Fax Number: (833) 912-2284

Columbia

1885 Shady Brook St

Columbia, TN 38401

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 876-3174

Fax Number: (833) 597-0124

Cookeville

1145 Perimeter Park Dr

Cookeville, TN 38501

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 717-1528

Fax Number: (833) 597-0132

Dyersburg

1070 Vendall Rd

Dyersburg, TN 38024

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 480-5002

Fax Number: (833) 597-0126

Gallatin

637 Commons Dr

Gallatin, TN 37066

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-7392

Fax Number: (833) 950-3791

Click here to see all the SSA offices in Tennessee

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Tennessee

How do I qualify for disability in Tennessee?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Tennessee?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Tennessee?

It takes an average of 7 months to get an initial disability decision in Tennessee. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Tennessee?

The average SSDI payment in Tennessee is $1,678 per month. The average SSI payment is $599 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Tennessee?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Tennessee have a state disability program?

No, Tennessee doesn't have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Tennessee can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources:

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Tennessee

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in Tennessee

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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