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Disability benefit programs in Tennessee.

Programs in Tennessee, most of which are offered by the Division of Rehabilitation Services, can help the disabled and their families. Any type of aid and support provided to individuals with a disability is in addition to the standard government and non-profit resources that are available to the general population.

The state, sometimes in partnership with non-profits, will work with the disabled to ensure they receive the assistance they need, both short and long term. Their families and caregivers may also receive help. A wide range of services are available in Tennessee. They can help families receive benefits such as medical care, job and vocational training, financial assistance, housing, home care, and more.

As indicated above, one of the leading organizations to contact is the Division of Rehabilitation Services. Dial 1-800-628-7818. They provide several programs and work with different agencies in Tennessee. Some of the resources available from them includes the following.

Vocational Rehabilitation can help qualified residents who are blind or visually impaired. The case managers and staff will help individuals compete with others in entering the workforce or retaining their job. The counselors who work for Tennessee have been specially trained to work with qualified clients.

The services provided will be customized to meet the needs of the client. Together they will work on developing an Individualized Plan for Employment. Some of what may be offered includes Guidance and Counseling, Post Secondary Education, Vocational Training, Financial aid for transportation, Mobility Training, Job Placement, and more. Clients can also get help from medical, hospital and surgical care that is needed to eliminate or reduce the effect of the visual disability. Or receive Information and Referral to other resources in the state.

Independent Living Services can help individuals of all ages who are visually impaired or blind. The state will help them to live independently in their local communities and homes. A number of counselors provide qualified clients with a wide range of independent living services. This can help disabled working age adults, preschool children and their families. It will assist those that are visually impaired. Their caregivers may qualify for respite as well. Teachers and staff will provide one-on-one attention in the individual's home and in group settings. Some of the funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education.




The Rehabilitation Teacher Program will provide services and information on benefits to children who are visually impaired. They will support the individual and provide information about the child's visual impairment and direct the family to a variety of specialized services.

The Department of the Blind and Visually Impaired provides independent living services to older individuals who are visually impaired or blind. A program is focused on residents that are at least 55 years old and that also have a visual impairment disability. Another key partner organization is the statewide network of Area Offices on Aging and also local senior citizen centers across the state.

The Tennessee Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is for those with one or the other of these impairments. The state provides them with specialized services. There are dedicated Blind Specialists who work for the state and offer support to address their needs, often in partnership with local field staff.

Call the Division of Rehabilitation Services at 1-800-628-7818 more information on any of those programs above.

A number of government financial resources are also available for residents with a disability that meet income conditions. They may receive priority in some cases on the funding. A few examples include the following.

  • Families First (TANF), which is cash assistance for basic needs.
  • Adult Day Care and Protective Services.
  • For disability applications, including SSDI, that were rejected, get help with appeals, hearings, and Disability Determination Services.
  • Food assistance from SNAP, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food.
  • Programs focused on the disabled including Blind, Deaf & Visually Impaired Services.
  • Financial aid for mostly utility bills and the Home Energy Assistance program.
  • Health care and applications for Medicaid/TennCare.

To learn more or apply, call the Customer Service Line at 1-866-311-4287.





The Facility Network of Vocational Rehabilitation Services includes a number of Rehabilitation Centers (CTRC’s). There are about 15 locations across the state and they offer disabled and qualified clients with day programs of rehabilitation services. They try to provide this assistance near the client’s home communities. The locations may offer community employment services, comprehensive vocational evaluation, and other employee development services. (615) 459-6811.

Rehabilitation Services in Tennessee will help employees return to work by providing them with retraining, physical restoration services, job counseling, modification, as needed. They will also assist employees injured off the job and that now have a disability and support residents with long-term disability claimants. They are also involved with providing referral and coordination of services for employees with mental illness or substance abuse. Staff can help clients find benefits that they may be entitled to. Phone number is (615) 313-4891.

Assistive technology devices and services may be offered to those with a disability from the Tennessee Technology Access Program. This resource works to increase access to, and acquisition of, items that are needed by the individual, family, or their care giver. Different components include Funding Assistance, Device Demonstration, Loans and Financial Support to buy the items, and Reutilization. The centers and program will assist those with disabilities and their families find and get the tools that need to live independent lives.

The statewide centers provide evaluation, training, minority outreach and advocacy services. Tennessee will also work closely with local businesses, vocational rehabilitation, school systems and the larger medical community to increase the productivity and independence of persons with disabilities. This is achieved by increasing use of assistive technology devices and providing them with other benefits. 1-800-732-5059

Vocational Rehabilitation relies both on state and federal government funds to provide services to help individuals with disabilities find a job and/or return to employment. The state works to assist individuals of work age with mental or physical disabilities. Vocational Rehabilitation  will help them compete successfully with others in earning a livelihood and starting a career. (615) 313-4891.

Organizations for the disabled in Tennessee

Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability
Address is 500 Deaderick Street, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-2056
Supports both the elderly and disabled in the state. Numerous benefits and programs are available. Examples include support for caregivers, general case management, homemaker services, respite care, personal care assistance/attendant, adult day care, and coverage for an assisted living facility. Financial assistance is for home delivered meals, minor home modifications, and assistive technology equipment.

Division of Intellectual Disabilities Services (DIDS)
Andrew Jackson Building, 15th Floor, 500 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243
Toll-free (800) 535-9725
Provides assistance to residents with an intellectual disability. Support for the family includes day and respite care, specialized equipment, repair/maintenance, and homemaker services. Supplies and equipment offered is home and vehicular modifications, housing costs, specialized nutrition/clothing/supplies, and transportation. Additional assistance from DID includes case management services including as well as behavior, physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Clients can sign up for classes on nutrition as well.

Tennessee Department of Health’s Arthritis Program
421 Great Circle Road, Suite 104
Nashville, TN 37228
Toll-free (800) 454-4662

Tennessee Department of Health’s Children’s Special Services (CSS)
Cordell Hull Building, 5th floor, 425 5th Avenue North
Nashville, TN  37243
(615) 741-7353
Provides financial assistance for the reimbursement for medical bills, supplies, pharmaceuticals and therapies for children under the age of 21 that are qualified. They are work with local doctors, hospitals, and local managed care organization networks. The organization will also offer referrals to specialists if the client has special health care needs.

Tennessee Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
425 5th Avenue North
Cordell Hull Building, 5th floor
Nashville, TN 37247
(615) 532-8192





Division of Rehabilitation Services, Blind and Visually Impaired Services
400 Deaderick Street, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 313-4700
Programs are for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Resources available include Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Services, Newsline for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This last option is an automated newspaper reading service. Other job training and career counseling may be offered too.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Citizens Plaza State Office Building, 400 Deaderick Street, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Main number is (615) 313-4891
This organizations help the disabled find a job. Services include counseling, diagnosis, guidance, job placement, treatment, training, transportation, and general transition services from school to work. They also run benefits such as the personal care assistance program and the organization provide independent living services as well as assistive technology if and when needed.

Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (TDMHDD) Mental Health Services
Cordell Hull Building, 3rd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-6500
The Mental Health Services administered by this department include employment/education, housing,  transportation, and crisis services.

Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (TDMHDD) Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services
Office address is 425 Fifth Avenue North, 3rd Floor Cordell Hull Bldg
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0675
Call (615) 532-6500

The Arc of Tennessee
Address is 151 Athens Way, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37228
Toll-free (800) 835-7077

Autism Society Middle Tennessee Chapter
955 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 385-2077

Brain Injury Association of Tennessee
151 Athens Way, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37228
Main number - (615) 248-2541

Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee
Location is 955 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206
Call toll-free (866) 992-4568

Nashville Regional Office of Paralyzed Veterans of America
110 9th Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 695-6383

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid South Chapter
Address: 4219 Hillsboro Road, Suite 306
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 269-9055

Spina Bifida Association of Tennessee
P.O. Box 23056
Nashville, TN 37202
For information, dial (615) 791-8117

TennCare (Tennessee’s government-operated medical assistance program designed for people eligible for Medicaid)
310 Great Circle Road
Nashville, TN 37243
Toll-free (800) 342-3145

Tennessee Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Location is 400 Deaderick Street, 14th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Telephone: (615) 313-4918





Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
Parkway Towers, Suite 130, 404 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-6615

Tennessee Department of Education
Andrew Johnson Tower, 6th Floor, 710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-2731

Tennessee Department of Health, Emergency Medical Services Division
227 French Landing, Suite 303, Heritage Place, Metro Center
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-2584
Toll-free (800) 778-4505

Tennessee Department of Health, Health Services Medical Section, Traumatic Brain Injury Program, Traumatic Brain Injury Lead Agency
Location is Cordell Hull Building, 5th Floor, 425 Fifth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243
Toll-free (800) 882-0611

Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
Cordell Hull Building, 3rd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Telephone number is (615) 532-6500

Tennessee Disability Coalition
955 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 383-9442
Toll-free (in Tennessee) (888) 643-7811

Tennessee School for the Blind
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
Call (615) 231-7300

Tennessee School for the Deaf
2725 Island Home Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37920
Main phone number is (865) 579-2500

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee
Address - 1200 9th Avenue North, Suite 110
Nashville, TN 37208
(615) 242-4091

University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities
711 Jefferson Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105
Toll-free (888) 572-2249

Agency Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Peabody Box 40
Address: 230 Appleton Place
Nashville, TN 37203
Toll-free (866) 936-8852

West Tennessee School for the Deaf
100 Berryhill Drive
Jackson, TN 38301
Main phone: (731) 423-5705

By Jon McNamara


















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