TN Leads Nation in SSD Denials — Why You Need Help with an Appeal

March 20th, 2019 by Attorney John Colvin

Tennessee SSD denial attorney

Being unable to work — and support yourself and your family — is devastating enough. When you are denied the social security disability (SSD) insurance benefits you’ve paid into your entire working life, the fallout can be catastrophic, financially and emotionally.

If you meet all of the guidelines for receiving SSDI payments but your claim has been denied, you are not alone. Sadly, that holds especially true if you live in Tennessee. According to a USA Today Network/Tennessean investigation examining 5 ½ years of data, the state holds the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in SSD denials. While the national average is 66 percent, Tennessee rejected 72 percent of claims in 2017.

Doctors Incentivized for Speedy Reviews

When you apply for SSD benefits in Tennessee, the odds are stacked against you. And that’s true even if you have a legitimate case. As revealed by the investigation, most doctors who examine SSDI applications for the state are contractors, paid a set fee per case. The more they review, the more money they make. The alarming but predictable result of this system is that patients are shortchanged.

  • The federal standard states that physicians should complete about 1.5 cases per hour. Over half of Tennessee contract doctors outpaced the guideline. One out of five doctors worked two times faster.
  • Seven doctors routinely billed six figures per year — between $103,000 and $451,000. (Keep in mind that many have other sources of income as well.)
  • Several of these contract physicians have troubling histories. Two are convicted felons. Another three have a history of their medical licenses’ being put on probation or revoked.
  • Whistleblowers are punished. One doctor became alarmed about the pace of evaluations and approached state officials with his concerns. His contract was not renewed.
  • Tennessee currently has a few staff doctors, who receive an annual salary and tend not to speed through their case examinations. But it’s been reported that the state plans to eliminate these positions and rely exclusively on contractors.

While the state does have a built-in oversight process, and has actually won an award for the quality of its case reviews, the system is designed to catch wrongful approvals, not wrongful denials — i.e., to safeguard public money. By law, half of approved claims are audited by the SSA. There is no such requirement for review of denials. According to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, only two percent of rejections are analyzed.

John Colvin Will Be Your SSDI Appeals Advocate

When you initially apply for your SSD benefits, it’s essential that you get your application right and have all of the necessary documents and medical records in place. But, as discussed, even that is no guarantee of approval.

If you’ve been denied, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. But this isn’t one you want to travel alone.

John Colvin has years of experience helping clients in Tennessee with their SSD appeals, up to and including representing them in federal court. He knows the law and can walk you through the multiple steps of the appeals process, maximizing your chances for a positive outcome.

  • He will become intimately familiar with the details and nuances of your case and listen to your concerns.
  • He will give you straight answers about your situation and the strength of your claim.
  • He will dig up every piece of supporting documentation available.
  • He understands the human side of a social security disability denial and will fight to win your appeal as expeditiously as possible.

Don’t waste time panicking over your disability insurance denial. To learn more about the SSD appeals process and how John Colvin can help, call (877) 359-7916 or fill out our online form. We will answer your questions and advise you on the best way forward.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama