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Scott Lewis

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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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October 19, 2010

How Do I Pay My Indianapolis Social Security Disability Lawyer?

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) has turned down your Indiana Social Security disability claim and now you are wondering how you can afford to hire an Indiana disability attorney.  Financially, it may not be as difficult as you think.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott D. Lewis receives many calls asking how he gets paid if he is hired to represent an individual on their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Currently, Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis’ fee agreement is contingent on him winning his Social Security disability clients claim.  This means if he does not win the claim, he does not ask his client for any money.  Another advantage is there are no up front costs to the client. Mr. Lewis finds that most of his Indiana Social Security disability clients are struggling to keep their heads above water with medical bills and providing food & shelter for themselves and their families.  The thought of paying a Social Security disability lawyer up front is not even an option for most disability claimants. Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis gets paid a percentage of the Social Security disability claimant’s past due award and it is capped at a certain amount determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The Social Security Administration takes this fee directly out of any past due benefits the Social Security disability claimant is awarded. When Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis wins his clients claim, he will also ask to be reimbursed for medical records expenses he has incurred to support the Social Security disability claim.

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October 15, 2010

Social Security Disability Benefits

Indiana Social Security Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis represents individuals that are unable to work due a disabling condition or a combination of impairments. His disability clients have applied for Social Security disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) and have been denied disability benefits.  Scott Lewis assists disability claimants with appealing their denied claim at the reconsideration level and at the hearing level.  At the Law Office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney Scott Lewis and his staff offer a free consultation to all disability claimants prior to representing them in their claim.  When Attorney Lewis is consulting with a disability claimant, he often finds himself explaining to the claimant the different disability programs offered by the SSA. In many cases, the disability claimants are unaware of the two different types of programs.  It’s important for Mr. Lewis to discuss with the claimant what the difference is between these two programs and which, if not both, program(s) is appropriate for the claimant to apply for.  The two disability programs offered by the SSA are Social Security Disability Insurance (also referred as SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (also referred as SSI). The SSDI and SSI disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide financial assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the SSA and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program. Whether you are a disability claimant suffering from cancer, heart disease, mental disorders, back pain, or any other disabling condition, your impairment has nothing to do with which disability program is right for you.  To determine which program you may qualify for it is based on work history and/or your income & resources. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is a payroll tax funded federal insurance program that is offered to disabled people … Continued

Filed under: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) || Tagged under:
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October 13, 2010

Testifying At Your Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing

Indiana Social Security Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis often finds his Indiana Social Security Appeals clients are very nervous about giving testimony at Social Security disability hearings.  The fact is many of his disability clients find the hearing to be much more informal than they had originally thought.  The hearing rooms in the Indianapolis Social Security disability office are not a grand courtroom as many disability clients are expecting.  Instead, hearing rooms are typically small, carpeted, wallpapered rooms with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) usually sitting at an elevated desk.  So, now that you have an idea what the hearing room looks like where an Indiana disability client will give testimony, what type of questions will you be asked? Almost all Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) follow a different routine when questioning Social Security disability appeals claimants.  With that being said, Indiana Social Security disability clients should realize the underlying question is “how does your disability keep you from working?”  Indianapolis Social Security disability Attorney Scott Lewis usually finds that most Administrative Law Judges will ask a series of questions and then let the Attorney or representative follow up with their own line of questioning.  The questions usually fall into four main groups: General background questions.  These can include how old you are, your height and weight, your marital status, who you live with, whether you are right or left handed, and many other similar questions. Past jobs you have performed.  Here the Social Security Administration (SSA) is usually concerned with how much you lifted, how much standing and sitting you did, and what your duties where at your previous job(s).  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis tells his clients to be prepared to discuss jobs over the last fifteen (15) years that lasted more than three (3) months. Discussion of your medical problems either physical or mental that prevent you from working.  It is important … Continued

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