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September 14, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits and Your Education

The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at various factors when deciding if you meet their definition of disability.  Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often discusses with his Indiana neighbors just what these factors may include.  The Social Security Administration will consider a person’s age, education, and work experience when analyzing a claim. Why does the Social Security Administration care about your education?  Believe it or not, the Social Security Administration does recognize that individuals with a lower education have less jobs in the national economy available to them.  This does not mean individuals with a higher education cannot receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it just may be a little more difficult to win their claim.  The Social Security Administration may take into consideration not only the education level of the claimant, but also the age and prior work experience when making a determination. It is also important to note the Social Security Administration may also consider any vocational training or schooling an individual may have.  This is all in an attempt to evaluate the number of jobs that may exist for a claimant in the economy.  Remember the question is are you able to work and to determine that the whole picture must be viewed to come up with an answer. Many times at Indiana Social Security disability hearings, a vocational expert or “job expert” is present and has the duty of determining with your disabilities combined with your age, education, and prior work experience whether there are jobs that you can perform.  Their answers are generally based on statistical analysis and personal experience and observations in their occupation. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis handles claims with a wide range of disabling conditions such as diabetes with neuropathy, cancer, depression, heart conditions, and epilepsy just … Continued

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July 26, 2011

Why Did I Get Denied My Social Security Disability Benefits When the Guy Down the Street Got Them Right Away?

If you only knew how many times Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyers like Scott Lewis have heard this very question. There are many different aspects to a Social Security disability claim and no one case is exactly like another one. While there may not be a clear cut answer to why some Indiana residents find a Social Security disability check in their hands before another person, in Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, there may be a few reasons this can happen and it can include, but is not limited to: Good medical records.  Comprehensive medical records outlining and detailing a disabling medical condition may be the key to a quick favorable outcome in a Social Security disability claim. Prior work experience, age, and education.  In the Social Security Administration’s approval process they determine your ability to work with your disabling condition while looking at age, education, and prior work experience. All disabilities are different and can create different barriers to employment.  While some disabilities may be visually evident, other disabilities like mental disorders may not be visible to the naked eye. The guy down the street may be luckier than you.  That’s right, he may have been evaluated by someone in the Social Security Administration that was more lenient on granting disability claims.  Believe it or not, actual people look at your claim and make a determination. The above are the thoughts and experiences of Scott D. Lewis, and other Social Security disability attorneys or representatives may have different experiences with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  If you have been denied your Indiana Social Security disability benefits and believe it was an unfair decision, contact attorney Scott Lewis for a free case evaluation.

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June 30, 2011

Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits for my Child

An Indiana resident that has a child that suffers from a disabling condition such as a mental disorder or a physical impairment often wonders if they are able to receive Social Security disability benefits.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has experience with representing child disability claimants.  Unfortunately, some parents assume that filing for disability benefits is different for a child than from an adult applying for disability benefits.   While there may some differences, the application process is very similar. Because a child has little or no work history, the child disability claimant in most cases would have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits rather than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.  Both programs are offered to disabled individuals, but the SSDI program is for those individuals with a qualifying work history.  The SSI program is offered to those disabled individuals who do not have a qualifying work history and have low sources of income or resources. As far as the application a parent or guardian needs to complete on behalf of their child, it is completed and processed in the same manner as an adult disability claim.  Therefore, the child disability claim will be filed at the Social Security Administration (SSA) then forwarded to the state agency handling the claim for the SSA.  This application will be assigned to a disability examiner just like an adult disability claim.  Finally, the child disability claim will either be approved or denied. Although there are many similarities between a child’s disability claim and an adult’s disability claim, there are some slight differences.  A child disability claim will be determined on the basis of residual functional capacity just like an adult’s claim. However, determination whether or not the claimant can return to past work or engage in some form of other work, generally does not apply to children.  In children’s disability claims, … Continued

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June 18, 2011

The Reconsideration Stage of the Social Security Disability Claims Process

At the Indiana law office of social security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his staff often find themselves explaining the different stages of the disability claims process to those individuals seeking disability benefits. Individuals that have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits often find themselves receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). When the SSA notifies the disability claimant that their initial application was denied, it is up to the applicant to continue the disability claims process by appealing the denial. Within sixty (60) days, plus five (5) days for mailing time, the disability applicant must file the appeal with the SSA.  This stage of the claims process is called the “Request for Reconsideration” stage.  This request is simply asking the SSA to reconsider your disability claim. Once this “Request for Reconsideration” is submitted by the Indiana disability applicant, the request for reconsideration goes back to the same state agency who denied the claim the first time, but a different examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) of the SSA reviews both the initial application and the “Request for Reconsideration”.  Once the disability examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) makes the reconsideration determination, the applicant will be informed by mail.  Unfortunately, statistically about 80% of the time the reconsideration decision is the same as the initial decision resulting in another denial. However, statistically about 20% of the time a claimant wins at the reconsideration level.  In most states, in Indiana, if you want to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits, you must go through the reconsideration appeals process. There is no way to avoid it. In a few states, the Social Security Administration has abolished reconsideration and you can file an immediate request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The denial notice from Social Security … Continued

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May 31, 2011

Can I Represent Myself at My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing?

Most Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants initiate the disability claims process by filing their initial application for benefits on their own or with assistance from a family member or friend. Unfortunately, some statistics report that nearly 80% of disability claims are denied at the initial application level. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer, Scott D. Lewis, has experience in the disability appeals process.  Mr. Lewis offers a free consultation to those individuals that are unable to work due to a disabling condition or a combination of disabling conditions. Once the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your disability claim, you may want to contact a qualified Social Security disability lawyer or representative to discuss your Indiana disability benefits claim.  Although optional, Mr. Lewis recommends having legal representation at your disability hearing.  An experienced disability attorney or representative can be trained in presenting and arguing disability cases in front an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and may be trained in questioning the vocational expert or medical expert that may potentially be at your hearing.  Indiana disability claimants may argue their own case in front of an ALJ, but some statistics show that disability claims that are argued by a disability attorney or representative are more likely to win. Once Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis and his staff receive a copy of the claimant’s Social Security file, he and his staff carefully review it. Reviewing the file will inform him what the disability examiners at the initial and reconsideration levels looked at when the claim was denied at those levels. This also gives Mr. Lewis an idea of how strongly or not your own treating doctors support your case. Additionally, reviewing your file allows Mr. Lewis and his staff to identify whether or not certain evidence from some of your medical sources was simply not gathered. Many times, Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds an … Continued

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April 22, 2011

Who Can Help Me with Filing a Social Security Disability Claim?

“I am filing for Social Security disability benefits and I need help with the application process!”  This is a common concern heard among Indiana Social Security disability applicants.  The Social Security disability claims process can be long and frustrating and many claimants struggle with the application process.  Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis assists Indianapolis disability claimants with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.  During a free consultation offered by Attorney Lewis, he will ask the claimant where they are in the claims process.  If the claimant is in the initial application stage, he will refer the disability claimant to one (1) of the following sources in order to file their initial application for disability benefits: Visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) website at www.ssa.gov to apply online.  Once on the SSA’s website, select the “disability” tab at the top of the home page.  You will be directed to a new page, where you will select the “Apply for Disability” box.  Then you will follow the steps instructed on the application.  It should be noted that this application is for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and that if you are applying for Supplement Security Income benefits that a SSA representative will need to discuss your application. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.  Explain to the Social Security representative that you would like to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits and you would like to schedule an appointment to apply in person. Visit your local Social Security Administration to schedule an appointment to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. Applying for disability benefits online is convenient and fast.  Although applying online has it’s advantages, it may have some disadvantages.  Unless you have a family or friend assisting you with the online application, you are completing it on your own.  … Continued

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April 14, 2011

Why Was I Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

It is not uncommon for an Indiana disability claimant to have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits since majority of disability claims  are denied at the initial application level.  Many SDDI and SSI claimants face the same question after they have been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Attorney Scott D. Lewis gets calls from disability claimants on a daily basis asking him why they have been denied disability benefits and what should they do next. Mr. Lewis always directs the claimant to the denial letter that they have received by the SSA.  This letter specifically states the reason for denial.  So, take the time to read the decision the SSA sent to you to figure out exactly why you were denied in the first place.  Once you know why you were denied, you can begin to collect the necessary documentation to appeal this decision.  Some reasons for denial may include: In 2010, you make more than $1,000 per month.  If you exceed this amount, you will immediately be denied disability benefits. Based on the information you provided the SSA when filing your claim, they have determined that your disability will not last or be expected to last a minimum of 12 months. You failed to comply with the SSA’s request for information or medical records.  Not complying with this request may ultimately cause you to be denied benefits. The SSA has attempted to locate you and was unable to reach you. At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC, Mr. Lewis assists disability claimants with appealing their denied claim.  Either him or his staff will often ask his clients to retrieve the denial letter so he can discuss the reasons for denial prior to appealing the claim.  It is important … 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 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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February 26, 2011

The Third Party Function Report and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Scott D. Lewis often hears from his Indiana Social Security disability clients and their families that they are confused by the paperwork they receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The forms are usually requesting information in applying for and appealing their Indiana Social Security disability claim.  One of these forms is called the “Function Report – Adult – Third Party”.  It is also known as form SSA – 3380 – BK.  Now with that mouthful out, are you afraid to pick up your pen and start the application and appeals process?  Well, Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis advises his clients and their families to not be intimidated in completing forms required by the Social Security Administration.  Most of these forms Mr. Lewis’ office can assist in completing or guide you, family, or friends through in completing the forms if you wish to complete them for yourself. The Third Party Function Report has various parts and these include: General Information that includes names, relationship to the disabled person, contact information, and other data. Information about daily activities including how a typical day is, whether the disabled person can care for themselves on a personal level, preparation of meals, house & yard work, mobility, shopping, money management, hobbies, and social activities. Information about their physical and mental abilities of the disabled person. Finally, a remarks section. Indiana disability attorney Scott D. Lewis tells these third parties that complete this form to be as thorough as possible.  It is important to be truthful and remember their is a reason this form is being asked to be completed.  It is to determine if the Indiana disability claimant has a disabling condition that is severe enough to prevent them from securing and maintaining substantial gainful activity.  In other words, if the Social Security Administration believes you are able to … Continued

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