TN 32 (01-19)

DI 52120.235 Tennessee Workers’ Compensation (WC)

A. Tennessee WC payment provisions

Payments are calculated as 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage. The payments are subject to minimum and maximum rates. For minimum and maximum rates visit:

1. Tennessee WC Lump Sum Payments (LS)

Tennessee law allows for amendments to WC awards at any time with approval of the court. Amended WC awards are valid in Tennessee. If the individual is awarded a lump sum and it includes an amendment refer to DI 52150.065 Subsequent Addenda to Lump-Sum Settlements.

B. Cost-of-living Adjustments (COLA)

Tennessee does not pay a cost of living increase or any other increase.

C. Attorney fees

The maximum attorney fee permitted is 20 percent. For Permanent Total (PT) disability cases the maximum attorney fee is 20 percent, but is limited to the first 400 weeks of benefits.

D. Retirement insurance benefit (RIB) considerations

Permanent Total will be offset due to the receipt of RIB once the individual reaches Full Retirement Age (FRA). There is no offset imposed prior to FRA so it may be to the individual’s advantage to elect reduced RIB at age 62.

Tennessee only offsets based upon the amount of RIB attributable to employer contributions. Tennessee determines that employer contributions are deemed to account for one-half of old age benefits. Therefore, only one-half of the RIB benefit will be considered when Tennessee computes the offset.

PT is the only type of Tennessee WC that is reduced due to RIB entitlement.


Refer specific questions from an individual to the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Division concerning the imposition and calculation of offset.

E. Verifying WC

Tennessee field offices and certain ODO technicians have the capability to obtain electronic WC verification. To obtain information, an ODO technician should contact their manager for referral to the proper technician.

Once you are certain the WC evidence is not already in the file, check the Workers' Compensation (WC) Resource Page in DI 52140.020 since Tennessee is a State that provides SSA with access to its online records. The value of online records can vary from State to State and some development may still be required. However, the sites available usually provide contact information for the employer, WC carrier, or the WC attorney, which can jump-start the development process. Also included in the WC Resource Page intranet site is a list of individuals in the PC with online access to those individual State records.

Form SSA -1709 (Request for Workers’ Compensation/ Public Disability Benefit Information) may be sent to:

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Workers’ Compensation Division
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002


The State will not reply unless you include a self-addressed postage-paid envelope.

F. References:


  • DI 52150.045 For individual State maximum rates visit

  • DI 52150.060 Prorating a WC/PDB Lump Sum Settlement

  • DI 52150.030 Considering the RIB Option

  • DI 52150.050 Excludable Expenses

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DI 52120.235 - Tennessee Workers’ Compensation (WC) - 01/14/2019
Batch run: 11/18/2019