Greeneville, TN Social Security Disability LawyerGreenville, TN Social Security Disability Lawyer and SSD Benefits

While the Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance program is in place to help support those who can no longer work because of a disease or accident, it can often be a difficult and complex road for those seeking benefits, even those who are clearly unable to continue working.   The process is challenging, because the Social Security Administration (SSA) has rigid application requirements, and benefits are often denied for minor technical issues.  As a result, over 70% of initial applications are rejected, even when claimants have qualifying disabilities.

As a Greeneville Social Security Disability attorney, if you suffer from an impairment and are unable to work, firm founding attorney Mark Hurt can assess your condition to determine benefit eligibility, compile medical documentation to substantiate your claim, and file an initial application.  Mark can also provide you with tenacious appellate representation if your initial claim was denied.

Call Us for a Free Consultation and Learn How We Can Help You! No Fee Unless Compensation is Obtained

We offer a free consultation so that you can learn about the social security benefits to which you may be entitled, as well as the options you may have for appealing an initial denial of benefits.  Once we learn about your case, we can explain how we can help, as well answer any questions that you may have about your claim or appeal.

Contact our office to schedule a free consultation to get started today.

The Advantage of Retaining an Experienced Social Security Lawyer at the Outset of a Claim – Contingent Fee Only Based on Back-Pay

We represent clients on a contingency basis, meaning we are only entitled to a fee if benefits are obtained.  Importantly, our fee is capped at 25% of the Back Pay obtained – we do not receive a fee for future payments that are not yet payable. This means that if you have recently become disabled and have not yet filed for social security disability benefits, your back pay will be limited, which in turn places a cap on our compensation.

The advantage of hiring an experienced social security lawyer at the outset is that statistically, claims submitted through the assistance of a lawyer have a greater chance of being approved than claims that are not submitted with the help of counsel, because an experienced lawyer can help thoroughly prepare a claim.  With the knowledge of why claims are often rejected, a lawyer can minimize the chances of a denial.

It’s important to understand that it may take several months for the SSA to review a claim, and if a claim is denied, it may take several months more for an appeal to take place.  During this time, most claimants will often be in tight financial circumstances, as they will either not be able to work or will have limited earning potential.

We serve clients in Greeneville and the surrounding communities, including, but not limited to, Tusculum, Afton, Alexander Mill, Chuckey, Mosheim, Albany, Midway, Limestone, Whitesand, and the surrounding communities.

What Types of Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

The SSA’s definition of disability does not include short-term or partial disabilities; rather, applicants must be totally disabled.[1] However, SSD can be awarded for a wide range of severe illnesses and injuries, as long as the condition prevents (or is expected to prevent) an individual from returning to work for more than one year.[2]

The following are a few common examples of the types of disability cases we handle:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease or heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Failure
  • Chronic fibromyalgia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Severe depression and anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Spine injuries and disorders
  • Blindness

In assessing whether a person is disabled, the SSA utilizes a complex, five-step process that is perplexing to most applicants.  As a Social Security disability lawyer with over three decades of legal experience, Mark Hurt can evaluate your medical history and determine whether your condition likely qualifies under the SSA’s definition of disability.

Can I Work and Receive Social Security Disability?

It is possible to work part-time and receive SSD.  To qualify for benefits, applicants must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), meaning that a medical condition must be severe enough to prevent the performance of more than an insignificant amount of work.

A person earning more than a certain monthly amount is ordinarily considered to be engaged in SGA.  In 2020, this monthly amount is $1,260 for non-blind individuals and $2,110 for statutorily blind applicants.  Applicants working and earning below these amounts can still qualify for SSD.[3]

If you work more than the SGA limits, you could potentially compromise your SSD eligibility.  Thus, it is vitally important to ensure that the SGA threshold is not exceeded or to give the appearance that full-time work can be performed.  We provide guidance on how to avoid jeopardizing disability benefits. 

Are There Eligibility Requirements for SSD?

In addition to meeting the SSA’s definition of disability, applicants must also be under age 65 and have enough work credits to be eligible for benefits.  Social Security work credits are earned for each year that a person is employed and pays FICA taxes.  The amount needed for one credit changes yearly.  For instance, in 2020, one credit is awarded for every $1,410 of income, up to a maximum of four credits.

To qualify for benefits, typically, 40 credits are needed, 20 of which must be earned within ten years before a disability occurs.  However, younger individuals without significant work histories may be eligible with fewer credits.[4]

If you are unsure if you have enough work credits to qualify for SSD, we can help.  At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our team can review your W-2’s and work history to determine your potential eligibility.

Is It Easy to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

Tennessee Social Security disability cases are notoriously difficult to win, even with a qualifying disability.  The SSA has rigid application guidelines, and minor application or documentation errors often result in denials.  Statewide, only 24% of all initial applications are approved, which is significantly less than the national average of 32%.  Fortunately, a denial can be appealed at four levels:

  • Reconsideration;
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge;
  • Review by the Appeals Council; and
  • Federal Court review.[5]

Cases that are denied and sent back to the SSA for reconsideration are only awarded 8.7% of the time.  However, if appealed at an administrative hearing, 62.9% of claimants are successful in obtaining benefits.[6] Many of these positive outcomes occur because, rather than trying to represent themselves, applicants hire experienced Social Security Disability attorneys.  If you would like to file an initial application or appeal a denial (at any level of the appeals process), experienced SSD attorney Mark Hurt can help increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

How Much Does an Experienced Greeneville Social Security Disability Attorney Cost?

Many people decide not to hire a disability lawyer because they feel that it is not within their financial means to do so, but this is not accurate.  At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our services can be secured without paying any up-front, out-of-pocket expenses.

As noted above, we work on a contingency basis, receiving only a portion of the back-pay benefits that are awarded.  This amount is typically capped by federal law at 25% or $6,000 (whichever is less), and we do not charge a fee on any future benefit payments.  This not only makes it affordable to obtain legal representation, but it also is personally motivating for us, as we do not get paid unless benefits are awarded. 

I Was Denied SSD Benefits.  Can I Appeal?

After receiving a denial, many claimants make one of two mistakes: Some give up hope of receiving much-needed disability benefits, while others reapply, starting the process over.  In both cases, this is usually the wrong course of action.

If an initial SSD application is denied, giving up is never a good idea.  In Tennessee, 76% of all claims are denied after the initial review, whereas over 60% of individuals who appeal secure Social Security disability payments in the future.[7] Thus, it is likely that benefits can be obtained by appealing an initial determination.

While an appeal can take months (or even years), longer than an initial application review, reapplying for benefits is seldom the right choice.[8] SSA examiners have access to prior applications and will often issue a second denial, solely because the first claim was rejected.  As a result, in most cases, the appeals process must still be endured, but an additional three to five months will be lost.  Thus, it is best to appeal within 60 days of the first denial to provide the timeliest chance of securing payments.

Appealing a denial can be a daunting task; however, having an experienced SSD attorney by your side can significantly lessen the burden and increase your chances of receiving a favorable determination at the early stages, which means less time waiting to receive benefits.  If you have been denied SSDI during the initial application stage, you should contact our offices to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible before filing for a reconsideration.  We can file an appeal and, if needed, fight tenaciously at a hearing in seeking to secure the benefits you rightfully deserve. 

Hiring an SSD Attorney Can Increase Your Chances of Securing Benefits.

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our experienced Greeneville social security disability team knows how difficult living with a disability can be – and how important it is to secure the benefits you need.  If you are living with an illness, injury, or impairment and need to apply for disability benefits or have had your initial application denied, we want to help.

Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.  We can provide guidance throughout every step of the process and assist in seeking the full benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.


[1] Benefits Planner: Disability | How to Qualify, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html#anchor3.

[2] Id.

[3] Substantial Gainful Activity, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html.

[4] Benefits Planner: Disability| How You Qualify, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html

[5] The Appeals Process, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf.

[6] Research, Statistics & Policy Analysis, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/.

[7] The Appeals Process, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf.

[8] Once denied disability benefits, Tennesseans face long waits to appeal, Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2019/01/06/denied-disability-how-appeal-tennessee/2339794002/.

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