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Scott Lewis

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February 25, 2011

Appointment Of Representative Forms For Your Disability Claim

Some individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may decide they need representation to help navigate what can be a confusing disability process.  In order for Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis to represent you in your disability claim and be recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA), he must have an Appointment of Representative Form (Form SSA 1696) completed and submitted to the SSA. The Appointment of Representative form is a fairly easy form to complete, but at the same time is a vital piece of paperwork to ensure representation in your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  The main parts of SSA form 1696 include: Claimant information including name and Social Security number. The authorization to appoint the representative which includes the type of claim, release of information, and whether you have more than one representative.  A signature, address, telephone number, and date are also needed by the claimant. The acceptance of appointment is then completed which contains information about the lawyer or representative involved with the claim. The two final sections concern waiver of the fee and waiver of direct payment. When Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis is hired to represent a disabled claimant, he tries to get this form into the Social Security Administration early so he has access to the disability claimant’s information.  Without the submission of the Appointment of Representative form, the Social Security Administration will not release any information or speak with Mr. Lewis about the Indiana disability claimant’s appeal. Many Indiana disability claimants do not know they have a right to be represented in their Social Security disability claim.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis offers a free consultation and his fee agreement is contingent on a favorable outcome in your case.  In other words, plain … Continued

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February 20, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Doctors Not Supporting Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal

Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis has seen doctors that will go to great lengths (usually short of going to your hearing of course) and doctors who refuse to help at all, and everything in between.  So what can you do when your treating physician will not support you in your Indiana Social Security disability appeal? It probably depends on why they will not support you.  There can be a variety of reasons why your doctor won’t support your disability claim.  Perhaps you simply do not get along with your doctor, or your doctor does not believe your disability prevents you from working, or finally maybe your doctor says he/she will help you, but will not assist you with your disability claim when push comes to shove.  In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, a cooperative treating physician can have a huge impact on you receiving a favorable outcome in your Social Security disability claim. So what can you do when your physician is not willing to help you?  It may depend on your health care coverage.  You may be limited on who you can see pursuant to your medical coverage.  It may help you to discuss your concerns with your treating physician.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis encourages his clients to try and have a good relationship with their doctor(s).  It is important to remember that physicians are people too and have likes and dislikes like all of us, and it makes sense if they like you they may be willing to go that extra mile for you in helping to establish your disability and your inability to hold down a full time job. Some Indiana disability claimants have the option of switching physicians when they are unhappy with their treating physician.  One of the problems Indianapolis disability attorney Scott … Continued

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February 18, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Degenerative Disc Disease

In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, one of the most common disabling conditions his clients share is problems with their backs and necks. Disabling conditions in this area can include, but are not limited to scoliosis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. These conditions can cause severe chronic pain that may make it unbearable to maintain full or part time employment. One of the most common types of back pain is due to degenerative disc disease.  As we age, it is not uncommon for this condition to occur.  Causes of degenerative disc disease may include outer layer tears in the disc and fluid loss in the disc.  Depending on the location of the disc or discs affected usually dictates where a person feels the pain. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes degenerative disc disease in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 1.04 Disorders of the Spine.  It is important for Indiana disability appeals claimants to note that they do not have to meet or equal this listing in order to receive Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Securit Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Administration may also consider an individual’s physical residual functional capacity.  Physical residual functional capacity refers to the limitations you may have considering items such as your inability to stand, sit, walk, and lift causing you to be unable to maintain employment.  The SSA may also consider the pain the claimant experiences when deciding if they are able to maintain employment. In Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, good medical records are key to winning your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Imaging tests such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s) may be critical in winning your disability claim.  It is also important to let your treating physician know the … Continued

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February 15, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits and Completing the Disability Report Appeal

Many forms need to be completed when appealing a denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis advises his clients to be as detailed as possible when completing these forms. One of these forms is referred to as the “Disability Report Appeal”. The Disability Report Appeal (also know as form SSA 3441-BK) is filed in combination with forms needed to file a “Request for Reconsideration”, “Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge”, and “Request for Reconsideration Disability Cessation.”  It is important that Indiana Social Security disability appeals claimants file the correct forms to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in processing the needed paperwork. The Disability Report Appeal has various sections concerning: Information on the disabled person; (This includes basic contact information.) Information about the claimant’s disabling condition, illness, or injury; Medical record information; Medications the claimant may be taking; Medical tests that have been performed; Job/work information; Information regarding training and education; Support services you may have received; and A final section where the claimant can put information you do not believe was addressed in other sections of the report. Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis receives many calls from his clients asking how they should fill this lengthy form out.  Mr. Lewis believes it is important to be as detailed as possible, but also stay focused on the question being asked.  The section(s) involving the Indiana disability claimant’s medical treatment can be very important when completing the form. It may be beneficial to take your time keeping in mind there are time constraints when filing a “Request for Reconsideration” or a “Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge”.

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February 14, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Attorney Scott Lewis Discusses Absenteeism in the Workplace and Social Security Disability

Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has many disability clients who claim that their disability causes them to miss too many days of work to hold down a job.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, Indianapolis disability claimant’s who have a mental condition or a physical condition that causes them to be absent from work on a regular basis may be a factor in determining whether they receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When a Social Security disability claimant gets denied SSDI or SSI benefits, the claimant has the right to appeal that decision made by the Social Security Administration (SSA) by requesting a hearing.  Once the disability claimant is in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the claimant often sees other individuals in the hearing room.  One of these individuals may be a Vocational Expert.  A Vocational Expert is at the hearing to testify to which jobs the claimant may or may not be able to perform due to their disabling condition(s).  As Attorney Scott Lewis questions his clients regarding their disabling condition(s), he often finds that his Indiana disability clients have difficulty with regular attendance in a work setting.  Many times, disabling conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions can result in an individual’s inability to get out of bed every morning and make it to their workplace.  At the hearing, a Vocational Expert (or job expert) may testify that two or more absences per month may result in termination of employment. At times, in Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, in the above line of questioning when the job expert states that no employers will permit this type of absenteeism, it may result in a favorable decision. At an Indianapolis Administrative Law Judge appeal hearing, claimants often find the line of questioning … Continued

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February 11, 2011

Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal and Your Ability To Concentrate

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis disability lawyer who fields many calls from Indiana disability claimants stating that they have a very hard time maintaining concentration due to a mental condition.  Many of these conditions can make it impossible for a person to maintain employment because they are simply unable to stay on task and maintain attention in a work setting.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to consider your ability to maintain concentration, persistence, and pace in making a disability determination. The Social Security Administration usually makes an appointment for those individuals claiming a mental disability to see a physician to establish the limitations experienced by the mental disorder.  A form is completed called a Mental Functional Residual Capacity Assessment.  This form contains various headings including the ability to sustain concentration and persistence.  The individual completing the form is to check the appropriate box indicating the severity of the condition.  In Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience the physician completing this form usually underestimates the severity of the mental condition concerning concentration, persistence, and pace more than any other limitation contained on the form.  So, now you have left the examination and the reviewer believes your limitations are not significantly limited or only moderately limited, what happens next? Don’t give up!  If you believe your Indiana Social Security disability claim is denied because of this and you believe you have a valid claim, you should appeal that decision.  Many times, Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis finds an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) after hearing your testimony finds that you are indeed unable to stay on task for the required amount of time to maintain employment.  Indiana residents that finally reach their day in an Indianapolis Social Security disability appeals courtroom may find not only the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), … Continued

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February 7, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Claimants with Depression

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis is an experienced attorney representing Social Security disability claimants.  Many of his Indiana Social Security disability clients suffer mental disorders such as depression.  Often, disability claimants with depression do not have sufficient medical documentation to back up their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Some disability claimants lack health insurance causing insufficient medical documentation.  Mr. Lewis advises his clients to investigate in the low income health programs or programs offered to uninsured individuals located in the Indianapolis area such as Wishard’s Health Advantage program.  Some other reasons disability claimants with depression may lack medical documentation supporting their claim is because a claimant may not be seeing doctors because they are ashamed of their disabling condition so they don’t seek the medical attention that they need from a mental health professional.  Having a lack of medical history to support your disability claim may ultimately cause you to lose your case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) approves SSDI or SSI claims based on medical evidence, so if you are suffering from depression, it is important to seek out the opinion of a qualified mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who will provide documentation to back up your claim.  It may be helpful that these professionals need to identify that: you are indeed suffering from clinical depression; and your depression significantly interferes with your ability to work. If your mental health physician has prescribed you medication to help you with your depressive state, the SSA may frown upon your lack of compliance if you do continue to take your medications.  Medications such as anti-depressants may not enough to prove your case.  A psychiatrist can be most effective in helping you to demonstrate the following to the SSA: The individual is depressed and suffering from a history of mental health issues related to his/her … Continued

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February 3, 2011

Searching for an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

Indiana Social Security disability attorneys can help disability claimants who are unable to work due to an impairment or a combination of impairments lasting or expecting to last a minimum of twelve (12) months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, processes claims, and administers the benefits program. A Social Security disability lawyer or representative may help guide clients through what can be a rather confusing disability claims process and disability appeals process.   Indianapolis disability attorneys may also assist the claimant with resolving any problems that arise with the SSDI or SSI claims and benefits. You’re disabled and unable to work because of this disability and you have applied for Social Security disability benefits, but find out that you have been denied.  You want to appeal this decision made by the SSA, but think that it would be helpful to hire a disability lawyer to represent you in this claim.  Many Indiana Social Security disability applicants are unaware that they have a right to representation in their Social Security disability claim.  Although it is not required to hire a disability attorney, you may find it to be beneficial to have representation for your disability appeal. How do I find an Indiana Social Security disability lawyer?  Indianapolis disability claimants may find themselves struggling with where and how they will ever find a disability attorney that may be able to properly represent them in their disability case.  Disability claimants will find that there are multiple ways to find themselves the representation that they desire.  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis advertises his services in a variety of ways to serve Indiana residents, such as: Television Commercials Internet Telephone Book Billboard Referrals Mr. Lewis’s goal is to be accessible to disability claimants when they need it.  Some disability … Continued

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February 1, 2011

Anxiety Disorder and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

Are you an Indiana resident unable to work because you are suffering from anxiety disorder?  Anxiety disorders are the most common of emotional disorders.  Anxiety disorder affects more than 20 million Americans each year.  This is approximately one out of nine people suffering from anxiety disorder.   Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis has numerous disability clients suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder.  Disability claimants may experience one or several symptoms associated with anxiety such as: uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, overwhelming feelings of panic & fear, recurring nightmares, and painful, intrusive memories. Physical symptoms of this emotional disorder include, but are not limited to: sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, shaking, muscle tension, and other uncomfortable physical reactions. Anxiety disorder differs from normal feelings of nervousness, as the symptoms often occur for no apparent reason and do not go away. These alarming reactions can make everyday experiences sources of potential terror. Anxiety disorder can be characterized as one of the following five types:  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Phobia, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Generalized Anxiety Disorder is defined by at least six months of a constant state of worry or tension and is not related to a specific event.  A person with Panic Disorder experiences repeated, unprovoked attacks of anxiety or terror lasting up to 10 minutes. Disability claimants with Social Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and overwhelming fears that lead a person to avoid common objects, social events, or situations. Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, persistent, and intrusive impulses or thoughts that the person feels can be controlled by performing repetitive behaviors. Indiana disability claimants with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) typically experience PTSD because they were a part of or witnessed a traumatic event or a series of events which resulted in severe stress symptoms lasting more than one month. How does … Continued

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January 28, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis Speaks About The Appeals Council

Indiana Social Security appeals lawyer Scott Lewis at times receives telephone calls from Indiana residents after their claim has been denied by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) asking what can they do next. Mr. Lewis advises his clients after they find themselves with an unfavorable decision from an ALJ they can appeal that decision to the appeals council. Again, like previous appeals in the process an individual has 60 days plus some mailing time to appeal the unfavorable decision in writing. When you send your appeal to the appeals council what can happen next?  There are essentially three different paths your appeal can take: The Appeals Council can deny your request.  This type of denial is usually because the Appeals Council believes the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made a correct decision. The Appeals Council can decide the case itself.  In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ opinion, this usually happens when the evidence is very clear you are disabled and entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The Appeals Council can remand or return the case to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for further action.  Upon remand the ALJ can do a number of things including, but not limited to,  asking for additional medical documentation to support your claim or decide your case favorable without any further action. If you are denied once again at The Appeals Council level there may be further relief available.  You may appeal the decision to a federal district court. Indianapolis residents can find the claims process frustrating and confusing.  Many Indiana Social Security disability claimants do not know they have a right to representation when appealing a denied Social Security disability claim.  Many times, these same Indiana residents are surprised to find out that Mr. Lewis’ fee agreement is contingent, meaning there is no fee unless they … Continued

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