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Scott Lewis

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November 18, 2010

Security Issues At Social Security Disability Hearing Offices

Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis travels to many Social Security hearing offices around the state of Indiana.  There has been much news recently about the safety and security of these Social Security hearing offices.  Due to the large amount of pending Indiana Social Security disability claims, some hearings take place in atmospheres that may surprise Indiana Social Security disability claimants.  With that in mind, it may not be a surprise that the level of security varies from one hearing location to another. The majority of the time an Indiana Social Security disability claimant will have a hearing at the Office of Disability, Adjudication and Review (ODAR).  At the majority of ODAR locations Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis visits, the security is very similar.  Indiana Social Security disability claimants will enter the hearing office and be asked for photo identification, asked some basic questions, and then usually purses and belongings are checked over and a metal detector is used.  If everything checks out, you let the staff know you have arrived and take a seat.  Recently, due to a large amount of pending claims, hearings are being held in what Indiana Social Security disability claimants may think is a strange atmosphere for a hearing.  Some of these locations may even include hotels.  Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis sometimes finds himself and his client in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a hotel room.  Yes that is correct, a hotel room.  Will your end result be different from a hearing in a hotel room?  Probably not, but it does seem rather odd.  The only thing Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis has noticed at these “make shift” hearings location is that there is minimal security.  At times the Indiana disability client does not even check in.  They simply … Continued

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November 16, 2010

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott D. Lewis and Your Free Consultation

It shouldn’t be surprising Indiana disability claimants are usually struggling to make ends meet. Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis understands the financial problems a disabling condition can cause and provides a free consultation to evaluate your Social Security disability benefits claim. Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis receives numerous calls per week from Indiana residents who are confused by the Social Security process and are happy to hear they can receive a free evaluation of their case. What happens in a free Social Security disability case evaluation? Generally, Mr. Lewis finds these calls fall into two categories: Individuals who have not filed for their Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  These individuals usually have questions as to how disabled they must be, if a particular disabling condition qualifies them for benefits, how long they must be off of work, and finally and perhaps most important how do they file their initial claim.  It is not uncommon for these individuals to have numerous questions as the Indiana Social Security disability process can be confusing.  Indiana residents who have not applied for their Social Security disability benefits need to know the majority of Social Security disability claims are denied at the initial stage.  During this initial free evaluation Indiana Social Security clients should ask disability attorney Scott Lewis as many questions as possible to help clear up any confusion regarding their disability claim or about the Social Security disability claims process.  After all, it’s a free consultation so disability claimants should use it to their advantage. Individuals that have been denied their Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  Most of these Indiana residents call disability lawyer Scott Lewis sounding disgruntled and upset that Social Security is disapproving their claim when they know they are unable to work and support themselves and their family.  Questions … Continued

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November 13, 2010

I am Receiving VA Disability Compensation, Can I Also Receive Social Security Disability?

Many Indiana disabled veterans talk to Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis about receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits when they are receiving disability compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA). At the present, there are many Indiana disabled veterans coming home from active duty with various disabling conditions; one prominent condition is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are several factors to take into consideration when talking about these two very separate programs. 1.  If I qualify for Veterans benefits, do I automatically qualify for Social Security benefits? No. These are two different government programs. An Indiana Social Security disability claimant with a VA rating of 70 percent or more may have a better chance that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will take into consideration the Veterans Administration has found you disabled at such a high rating, but there is no guarantee. 2.  Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) work on percentages like the Veterans Administration?  No, with the Social Security Administration it is all or nothing. They either find you 100% disabled or they don’t. 3.  When should I apply? As soon as you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you are unable to work because of your disabling condition, you should apply for Indiana Social Security disability benefits immediately. One of the problems Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis runs into is that his disabled veteran clients wait too long to apply. Many Indiana veterans leave active duty in a disabled condition and start receiving VA compensation not knowing they are eligible for Indiana Social Security disability benefits. The problem here is that the clock starts ticking and these Indiana veterans don’t know they have a limited time to prove they are disabled before their date last … Continued

Filed under: Social Security Disability Benefits Claims Process || Tagged under:
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November 13, 2010

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Comments On Hearing Backlog And Virtual Screening Units

Indiana Social Security disability claimants waiting for a hearing have had their patience tested.  Currently, the Indianapolis Social Security hearings office known as The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) has a very lengthy wait. Now add in the ever growing amount of individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, which have been estimated at perhaps 700,000 more initial claims in Fiscal Year 2010 compared to the number in Fiscal Year 2008, and it becomes obvious measures must be taken to alleviate this tremendous caseload. What is the Virtual Screening Unit and will it help me?  This is a tool to identify cases that may receive a favorable outcome without the use of a hearing.  By identifying certain factors and forwarding these cases to the Social Security Administration’s senior attorneys it is believed this will help alleviate the hearing backlog because a fully favorable determination can be made on the record.  In Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience the majority of the individuals sent to the virtual screening unit are over 50 years of age.  Although, some are younger than 50 years old, it would appear these younger individuals selected by the Virtual Screening Unit have substantial severe disabilities that the virtual screening unit may believe can be found fully favorable without a hearing. At times, an attorney advisor may contact Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ office and request more recent updated medical records to help further a determination on their Indiana Social Security claim. As always, Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis advises his disability clients to keep seeking medical attention while their claim is pending.  When it comes to your day in front of an Indiana Administrative Law Judge or in selected cases the eyes of an Attorney Advisor … Continued

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November 12, 2010

Stroke and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often finds himself talking to Indiana residents wondering if they can receive disability benefits because they have experienced a stroke.  Disability attorney Scott Lewis usually finds the stroke itself is not to be the reason the individual cannot work, but the effects afterward.  Many Social Security disability claimants find themselves unable to remember things and complain of short and long term memory loss after experiencing a stroke.  Another problem may include the inability to function physically as they did prior to having a stroke. One major issue may involve that to be entitled to Indiana Social Security disability benefits an individual must be disabled for twelve months or be expected to be disabled for twelve months, or the disability is expected to result in death. This is called the “durational requirement”.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) could argue that the residual effects of your stroke may go away.  It is difficult to determine if this is true, so good medical evidence may be the key to proving your disability will persist. Through good medical records, including physical and psychological records, an Indiana Social Security disability claimant should try to prove they are unable to return to their past work, and are unable to perform any other jobs that exist in the economy.  This may be accomplished by showing that the Indiana Social Security disability claimant has such a reduced physical or mental capacity that they are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis also attempts to categorize his disability clients into a listing in the Listing of Impairments issued by the Social Security Administration.  

Filed under: Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments || Tagged under:
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November 3, 2010

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis Thoughts About Unemployment Compensation

Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis routinely runs into some of the same questions and/or concerns many of his Indiana disability clients share.  Many of these are a sign of the times, as many people are losing their jobs and cannot support their families or themselves while waiting on a Social Security disability hearing. A big question they share is “Can I receive unemployment and still try to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?”   Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has written a previous blog on this issue, but the question is still a dominant matter in his Social Security disability practice.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) states receiving unemployment insurance compensation does not preclude you from receiving Social Security disability benefits, although it can be a factor in determining whether you receive those benefits. Now, let’s talk reality.  In Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, it depends on what Social Security Administrative Law Judge you get when you are at the hearing level.  Some Judges make this a sole reason for denying your benefits whereas Judges don’t even ask you about it.  Then again, other Judges are somewhere in between.  These judges may want to amend your onset date to the date right after you received your last unemployment payment. When assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) you should ask your Indianapolis Social Security lawyer or representative about the particular ALJ you have.  How does this Judge look at receiving unemployment compensation while attempting to get Social Security disability?  This may help prepare you for the types of questions you will be asked at your Indiana Social Security disability hearing.  If your answer to this question is that you and your family would have went hungry and lost your home, Attorney Scott Lewis suggests you tell the Social Security Administrative … Continued

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October 28, 2010

Indiana Social Security Disability Claimants and Quick Disability Determinations

If you are an Indiana resident trying to get Social Security disability benefits, the word “quick” may not sound too familiar to you. At the present, processing times to receive a hearing from an Indiana Social Security disability Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is very long and may be putting a huge financial burden on you and your family.  On the other hand, if you were lucky enough to be one of the few claimants to have received a “Quick Disability Determination” (QDD), then you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. What is a “Quick Disability Determination” (QDD)? A QDD is a Social Security disability case that is selected by a computer when it has a high probability of the Social Security claimant being disabled and that all evidence can be obtained in a quick and easy manner, and that the Disability Determination Services (DDS) can process the claim quickly. Indiana Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis can only tell his Indiana Social Security clients to cross their fingers and hope they are selected by the computer to be a QDD.  The Social Security Administration has set up this QDD process to help alleviate the overwhelming amount of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications that they are receiving. Indiana disability claimants who are experiencing a disabling condition that is not very common or may be lacking extensive medical records, may find themselves not considered for a QDD.  The criteria to be considered for a QDD may be very easy to identify and perhaps would have been caught on an initial application anyway.  Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott D. Lewis welcomes anything that will speed up the process for Indiana Social Security disability claimants as the current wait process is putting a strain on some of the most deserving Indiana residents.

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October 28, 2010

Can I Receive Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits for Fibromyalgia?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis has seen an increasing amount of Indiana disability claims for Fibromyalgia.  Indiana residents suffering from Fibromyalgia sometimes find themselves unable to work due to chronic pain in different areas of their bodies.  Ongoing medical research as to the possible causes and cures for Fibromyalgia has increased, but many Indiana residents still suffer from Fibromyalgia on a daily basis. While currently there is no testing such as x-rays or blood tests to detect Fibromyalgia, The American College of Rheumatology has developed classification criteria to diagnose Fibromyalgia that includes: 1.  A history of widespread pain that has been present for at least three months. 2.  Pain in 11 of 18 tender points on digital palpation. Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis believes it is very important for his disability clients to try to find a physician that is knowledgeable in the area of Fibromyalgia.  Complete detailed medical records may help the Social Security Administration (SSA) find you favorable in your Indiana Social Security disability appeal. Indiana Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis at times finds Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) who discount the claims of Fibromyalgia claimants.  A good solid medical history may be the key to convincing a skeptical judge that you are indeed unable to work. If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia or any other disability that prevents you from working, call disability attorney Scott Lewis for a free evaluation of your claim.  Many disabilities such as Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Depression, Diabetes, or Cancer can prevent you from being able to provide for yourself and your family and may entitle you to Social Security disability benefits.

Filed under: Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments || Tagged under:
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October 27, 2010

Lupus and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis has noticed a larger number of Lupus related disability cases in the recent past.  Disability Attorney Scott Lewis believes this may be due to more people actually suffering from Lupus or simply more physicians are testing disability claimants and finally figuring out this is the correct diagnosis.  Nonetheless, if you are suffering from Lupus and it is preventing you from doing your past work or any other work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When evaluating Lupus under Social Security standards for disability, the medical listing is located under Section 14.02 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus as an immune system disorder.   There are certain criteria defined in the  SSA’s Listing of Impairments  an Indiana Social Security disability claimant must meet or equal to be considered disabled from Lupus.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider factors such as a marked level of limitation in one of the following: *  Activities of daily living; *  Maintaining social functioning; or *  Completing tasks in a timely manner due to problems with concentration, persistence, or pace Indianapolis Social Security disability claimants not meeting the precise criteria for Lupus may still receive a favorable decision from the Social Security Administration in other ways.  One other way to receive a favorable determination is if you experience a combination of other impairments along with your Lupus diagnosis.  The Social Security Administration can consider all of  your disabilities and decide that you are unable to perform work like activity.  The Social Security Administration may decide your physical or mental residual functional capacity is so low that there are no jobs in the national economy that you can perform.  In other words, you my be unable to sit, stand, walk, lift, or concentrate for long enough periods of time to maintain employment.

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October 26, 2010

Will It Help If My Doctor Supports My Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits Claim?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis encourages his Social Security disability clients to try to have a good relationship with their treating physician(s).  Generally speaking, it is usually very helpful to have your physicians on your side.  When it comes down to “crunch time” and the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for certain medical documents to support your Indiana disability claim, a helpful physician, psychiatrist, or therapist may be just what you need. Indiana Social Security appeals claimants may wonder how their doctor can help their disability claim.  There are a number of ways they may help: 1.  Medical specialists who keep detailed records including progress reports, test results, and the prognosis of your disabling condition, may play an important role in receiving a favorable outcome on your Social Security disability claim. 2.  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis often asks the treating physicians to complete questionnaires concerning your disabling condition.  Many times, these questionnaires can help pinpoint your disability so that an Indiana Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can more easily find that you suffer from a disabling condition that prevents you from working. 3.  Your treating physician can provide letters detailing your disability and provide information as to the intensity, duration, and disabling effects of your impairment.  These letters can also provide information regarding the physician’s opinion as to whether you are able to work or not. In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience the  Social Security Administration  and Indiana Social Security Appeals Judges usually want to see medical records from physicians that specialize in the area that you are claiming disability.  For instance, a General Practitioner who has diagnosed you with Bipolar disorder usually does not carry as much weight as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist that specializes in that particular area. The past experiences of Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis have taught him while a General Practitioner’s medical records are good, a specialist’s … Continued

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