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Addressing Special Disability Needs for Tennessee Veterans

Tennessee has historically been a good place to find soldiers. It was the state that provided the most soldiers for the Confederate Army. Back in the day, there was no compensation for soldiers who became disabled while on active duty. Fortunately, times have changed.

Tennessee routes all applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) to the Disability Determination Services (DDS), a section of the Division of Rehabilitation Services of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. The DDS processes SSD claims in the state as mandated by the agreement between the state government and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The DDS has 30 branch offices that services Tennessee’s disabled both civilian and military.

But the DDS is no pushover by any means. On average, only 25% of original disability claims are approved, and when appealed, less than 9% are approved after a request for reconsideration is filed and assessed. The rest go on to the disability hearing phase, where nearly 63% are approved in part or in full once a hearing date is set, which takes more than a year. An SSD lawyer in Tennessee can expedite this process by ensuring that all the required documents are prepared and the right forms properly filled.

But those disabled while on military active duty or training have another option for disability benefits: the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA disability compensation operates under a different set of rules than the SSD, and the process is comparatively speedy. More importantly, approval for VA disability does not disqualify a claimant for SSD benefits, although there may be cases where reductions are made to the total benefits received.

An additional benefit under VA disability is the Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). It is awarded to veterans to address the costs of special needs for a particular disability, such as veterans who become paralyzed and would need the attention and aid of another person for daily living. The SMC is a tax-free allowance that is automatically awarded if the disability qualifies with the completion and submission of VA Form 21-2680.