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Which disability criteria do the SSA use in Tennessee?

Social Security Disability benefits are a huge help for countless Americans, including many in Tennessee. These SSDI benefits not only give much needed financial assistance to residents, but peace of mind, as well, to those who suffer from a disability. Despite its saving grace, filing for these benefits can be a bit complicated. Applicants also must have a medical condition that falls under at least one category of impairment, which makes them eligible pursuant to the Social Security Administration's blue book for recognition of their injury or ailment as a disability.

What criteria does the SSA use to determine if an applicant is disabled? The Social Security Administration reviews the application and, particularly, the medical information that they have provided. The Disability Determination Services in the state is the agency that makes that decision. Medical practitioners employed by SSA will first talk to an applicant's doctors in order to understand the condition of the applicant. Primarily, these medical professionals will determine what particular medical condition the applicant has, when it started, the treatment that was and is being given and how the condition limits the activities of the applicant.

If the medical information for the applicant is insufficient, will the disability claim be denied? Not necessarily. If the agency finds the medical data inconclusive, it can ask the applicant to undergo a special examination in order to discover more conclusive medical information. The SSA will pay for the examination, as well as some of the expenses that will be incurred, in case the applicant needs to travel in order to undergo the test.

What happens if an applicant passes the requirements for the special examination? After determining the applicant's medical condition, the agency will then check to see if the applicant passed the necessary work requirements, check if the applicant's condition is listed in the SSA's blue book, determine the severity of the disability and consider whether the applicant can perform any other type of work. Once these standards are all met, an applicant is considered disabled and the process of receiving benefits moves forward.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability benefits," accessed Jan. 12, 2015

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