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Scott Lewis

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April 11, 2011

How Long Will I Have To Wait For My Social Security Disability Hearing?

There is still a tremendous backlog of individuals waiting for an Indiana Social Security disability hearing. Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis spends much of his day explaining to current and future Social Security disability clients that they are in a long line waiting for their day in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Statistically your chances of winning your claim go up when you finally enter a courtroom to present evidence in front of an ALJ, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) is not going to pay your bills during this long wait. So exactly how long does it take to get your disability hearing in Indiana?  It depends on a variety of factors.  The Indianapolis Office or Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is currently one of the more lengthy waits if your hearing is in Indiana.  There are other hearing offices throughout the state of Indiana that are quicker to get you your day in court.  Can you pick where you have your hearing?  No, it is assigned a location depending on where you reside. Is there any good news on the horizon?  Things MAY be looking up. Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis has noticed a decrease in the wait time in some cases.  In the recent past,  Mr. Lewis would tell his disability appeals clients the wait was generally running 18 – 24 months from the date they requested a hearing until they would actually see a judge.  Lately, Mr. Lewis has seen individuals receive a Social Security disability hearing in 12 months after requesting a hearing. Does this mean your hearing will be within 12 months of the day you requested it?  Probably not.  Many factors determine your hearing date including what Administrative Law Judge you are assigned, whether you have an in person … Continued

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April 7, 2011

Can I Get Social Security Disability For Coronary Artery Disease?

Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis seems to get more and more calls from his Indiana neighbors asking the above question.  This may be due to medical advances being able to diagnose coronary artery disease at an early stage or perhaps simply more individuals are experiencing this cardiovascular impairment.  There are many factors that go into a finding of disabled for coronary artery disease and if you are pursuing an Indiana Social Security disability claim you need to be aware of what documentation you may need to win your disability claim. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has seen many clients denied disability benefits at the initial and reconsideration levels when they have already underwent numerous medical procedures including bypass surgeries, stent placement, and various other procedures.  Some individuals have experienced heart attacks and still find themselves pulling a denial from their mailbox.  Many individuals not familiar with heart problems may be shocked to find a finding of disability is not a sure thing when an individual suffers from this type of impairment.  The truth is, the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes you can recover from these types of cardiovascular impairments and go on to perform substantial gainful activity. How can you win an Indiana Social Security disability claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?  One of the keys may be good solid comprehensive medical records.  Statements from your treating physician, preferably a specialist in the cardiovascular area, stating your restrictions and inability to work can be beneficial.  One way to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim is to meet or equal Social Security’s Listing of Impairments under Section 4.00 for the Cardiovascular System.  The Listing of Impairments can be very rigid in their guidelines, and many Indiana disability claimants find that they don’t precisely meet … Continued

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April 4, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott Lewis Thoughts On Seizures

Social Security disability claimants experiencing seizures often find themselves denied their disability benefits during the claims process.  While most Americans may think a person suffering from seizures would be a sure thing in obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, the Social Security Administration many times has a different opinion. Indiana residents suffering from seizures due to epilepsy or other causes are usually surprised to find at times it can be difficult to prove their claim is valid.  Seizures can be unpredictable and many times the only medical evidence contained in a Social Security disability claimant’s file is self reporting documentation.  Many times, the seizure is over by the time an individual is seen by a medical professional.  Other issues can include the severity and type of seizure the individual has experienced. Obviously, the intensity and severity of a seizure can vary from person to person.  Some individuals may experience convulsive seizures while others experience non-convulsive seizures.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) will probably be interested in knowing the duration and the cause of the seizures.  Another major aspect of a disability claim for a seizure disorder is the after effects of a seizure.  Many individuals suffering from a seizure disorder report memory problems, and extreme fatigue following a seizure. The need to recuperate after a seizure for a lengthy period of time may prohibit an individual from maintaining full time employment. Indiana Social Security disability claimants not complying with taking prescribed medication to reduce or eliminate seizures may also jeopardize their chances of winning their Indiana Social Security disability claim.  In most cases, if medication eliminates the disabling condition you are experiencing then you will be found not disabled by the Social Security Administration.  Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis encourages his clients to adhere to … Continued

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March 29, 2011

I Can’t Stand For Very Long, Can I Get Social Security Disability?

Indianapolis disability appeals attorney Scott Lewis talks to many individuals who are experiencing pain when performing jobs that require them to stand for either short or long periods of time.  There can be a variety of reasons contributing to the inability to stand, but the common theme is usually that the pain is so unbearable that the individual is forced to either sit down or lay down to alleviate it. How does the Social Security Administration look at your inability to stand when you are attempting to receive Indiana Social Security disability benefits?  Although there are many scenarios in which standing is an issue such as light, medium, and heavy work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may decide your inability to stand leaves you with what is termed “sedentary” occupations.  In other words a “sit down” job.  Many individuals who have found themselves reduced to sedentary jobs have no previous work experience with sedentary employment.  For example, a construction worker who suffers from a severe impairment creating the inability to stand for any length of time is usually shocked when he/she finds the Social Security Administration believes they can perform a desk job or other employment he/she has never done before.  Believe it or not, vocational experts (job experts) may testify at an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing that sedentary jobs can include packers, assemblers, surveillance system monitors and various other occupations. Does that mean you will lose your Social Security disability claim if you cannot stand to perform work?  Not always.  Various other factors come into play that may help you in winning your claim.  What if the pain you experience while standing also continues when you are sitting?  Continuous severe pain while sitting and standing may be enough to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Your age, … Continued

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March 28, 2011

What is the Social Security Administration’s Medical Listing of Impairments?

Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis practices Social Security disability law throughout the state of Indiana. He represents disability claimants with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Most individuals who apply for SSDI or SSI benefits have no idea what disability criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to determine if they are disabled. The SSA determines if an individual is disabled according to the rules and regulations governing Social Security disability and use a “Listing of Impairments” also known as the “blue book” to determine if an individual will meet or exceed the SSA’s definition of disability. What is the Social Security Administration’s Medical “Listing of Impairments”?  This medical listing referred to as the blue book is a list of impairments that Congress has defined to be disabling. This disability handbook contains fourteen (14) major body system sections that address a list of Social Security disability impairments considered to be severe enough to prevent an individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The major body systems addressed within the blue book are as follows: Musculoskeletal System, Special Senses and Speech, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Genitourinary Impairments, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Endocrine System, Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems, Neurological, Mental Disorders, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, and Immune System Disorders. Within each of the above listings, Social Security defines the criteria needed to meet the listing in which disability is defined.  Indiana disability claimants may wonder what impairments they will find in the Social Security List of Impairments.  The “Listing of Impairments” contains a list of disabling conditions for each major body system.  For example, if you are disabled due to a spinal disorder, you must meet the criteria set forth in the section of the listing dealing with Musculoskeletal System.  In Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, … Continued

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March 23, 2011

I Have Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits and I Don’t Know What To Do Next!

Indiana residents that have been denied Social Security disability benefits often wonder what to do next in order to get the benefits they deserve. Statistically, it is stated that nearly 2% of Americans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits each year. SSDI and SSI benefits are available to those individuals with a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions preventing them from working working for twelve consecutive months or longer or expected to be unable to work for 12 months. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of these claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the initial stage of the claims process. Once denied, many disability claimants wonder what to do next. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often encourages his disability clients to be patient and to not panic. Although the claimant was denied initially, there may be hope for winning your claim. Even though the Social Security disability appeals process is long and may be complicated, it can be manageable and ultimately your claim may be approved. Once the disability claimant receives their initial denial by the SSA, the claimant should file an appeal within 60 days from the date of the decision letter.  Most of the time, appeals can be filed online at the SSA’s website.  The first appeal the claimant must file is the “Request for Reconsideration.”  This appeal is simply asking the SSA to review your claim again for consideration of SSDI or SSI benefits.  Within a certain amount of time, the SSA will either approve or deny this appeal.  Again, don’t stop there!  As stated before, the majority of these claims are denied so it is important to continue the appeals process.  A second appeal must be filed in order to have your disability case heard in from of a judge.  This second … Continued

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March 19, 2011

Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal and Cerebral Palsy

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis disability lawyer who sees a variety of disabling conditions and cerebral palsy is no exception.  It is not uncommon for potential clients to call his office and ask how severe their disabling condition must be in order to be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When should you inquire about your Indiana Social Security disability benefits for cerebral palsy or any other disabling condition?  In most cases, it is when your condition prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity.  In other words, apply for disability benefits when you find yourself unable to take care of yourself and/or your family due to a disabling condition or combination of disabling conditions. Cerebral palsy is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disabling condition if it meets certain criteria.  To start with an Indiana disability claimant may want to turn to the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments”.  This publication outlines various disabling conditions the SSA will consider in making a favorable or unfavorable decision when deciding if your condition meets or equals certain standards.  The Social Security Administration evaluates cerebral palsy under section11.00 Neurological Impairments and more specifically 11.07 for cerebral palsy. Examining the criteria needed to qualify for this impairment while at the same time taking a close look at your treating physician’s medical records may help you determine if you do indeed meet or equal the criteria needed to be determined disabled. Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis often sends a list of questions to his Indiana disability claimant’s physician(s) in hopes they may complete these forms in such a way it verifies that his client meets the listing making it easier for the Social Security Administration to find you disabled. What … Continued

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March 10, 2011

Social Security’s Electronic Folder and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

With all of the increasing technology we experience on an everyday basis, it should be no surprise for Indiana disability claimants to find out their Social Security disability claim file is loaded onto a compact disc (CD) for viewing purposes. In an attempt to go paperless the Social Security Administration (SSA) has turned to having all of your disability development scanned and turned into space saving technology.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes this transition is not only easier for viewing purposes, but has cut down on unnecessary file storage for the Social Security Administration and also Indiana Social Security disability representatives. Indiana Social Security disability appeals claimants may wonder what exactly is contained in their electronic Social Security disability claim folder.  The items in your Social Security disability claim folder are referred to as exhibits.  There are different sections of the folder and they may include: Payment documents/decisions Jurisdictional documents/notices Non disability development Disability development Medical records If you are currently waiting on an Indiana Social Security disability hearing and the Social Security Administration has mailed you a compact disc with your Social Security disability file on it you will want to take a good look at it to ensure your file is complete.  While some of the sections may be difficult to understand, the medical records section should be closely examined to ensure all of your physician(s) records are present and up to date.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis strives to ensure his clients electronic file is complete and all necessary documents have been submitted to the Indiana offices of the Social Security Administration. If you show up at your Indiana Social Security disability hearing and your file is not complete, some Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) will allow you additional time to submit missing documentation; however, there is no guarantee an … Continued

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March 9, 2011

Where Will My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing Be Held?

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis travels throughout the state of Indiana and various other states to represent Social Security disability claimants at their Social Security disability hearing.  Due to various reasons, he is able to practice Social Security disability law in many different geographic locations.  At times, when one of his Indiana Social Security disability claimant moves, Mr. Lewis will travel to another city or state to remain as his or her client’s disability case representative.  Many Indiana Social Security disability claimants may wonder where exactly will their disability hearing take place as they are approaching their hearing date.  Once the hearing date is established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the disability claimant will be notified in writing by the SSA of the date, time, and location of their hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is in charge of conducting hearings and giving out disability benefit decisions in determining if an individual is eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Currently, ODAR has 10 regional offices, 161 hearing offices (including 7 satellite offices), 5 national hearing centers, and 2 national case assistance centers.  There are approximately 1,300 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in the field organization. ALJs may travel to other sites such as local Social Security offices to conduct hearings if needed. In most cases, Social Security disability claimants will be assigned the hearings office or location closest to their listed residency.  In order to find the ODAR office closest to you, visit ODAR’s website.  The Indianapolis ODAR hearings office is located in downtown Indianapolis.  This hearings office services Social Security fields offices for Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Indianapolis Downtown, Indianapolis Northeast, Indianapolis West, Kokomo, Muncie, and Richmond. Disability Attorney Scott Lewis frequents the Indianapolis ODAR hearings office … Continued

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March 8, 2011

Child Social Security Disability Benefits and a Few Words From Indinapolis Disbility Lawyer Scott Lewis

The amount of inquiries Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis receives on a weekly basis concerning child Social Security disability benefits is quite large.  The parent(s) or guardian(s) of these children have many questions concerning the eligibility criteria for qualifying for disability benefits.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program can provide disability payments to children from birth to eighteen years of age if they meet medical and resource requirements. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis finds many families fail to receive payments for a disabled child due to Social Security’s income and resource rules.  The Social Security Administration will not only consider income and resources of family members living with the child, but also the income and resources of the child.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds most families are surprised to find the threshold for income and resources is usually a lower figure than they had anticipated.  So even if your child meets the medical disability requirements set by the Social Security Administration your claim can be barred due to income and resource restrictions. Now in the event your family and child’s income and resources are below the limit set by the Social Security Administration, you next must meet the Social Security Administration’s rules for disability.  The child must have marked and severe functional limitations with a mental or physical condition, or a combination of conditions that have lasted or is expected to last for a period of twelve months.  Also, for 2011 the child can not be working and earning over $1,000 a month. When it comes to examining the mental or physical disability the child experiences, the Social Security Administration will consider: Functioning in motor skills. Functioning in personal skills. Functioning in cognitive and communicative skills. Functioning in response to stimuli for infants. Functioning in concentration, persistence, or … Continued

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