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December 16, 2009

Social Security Disability Benefit Payments

Are you an Indiana Social Security disability claimant that has recently been approved for disability benefits?  Like most claimants, you are wondering when you will receive that first payment from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are designed to replace a claimant’s income once they are no longer able to work due to their disability.  As with all claimants, these payments are usually desperately needed.  Since all benefits are not equal and every situation is unique, Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis states that it is very difficult to determine when you will receive your first disability payment.  Factors may include:   how soon the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made his decision, how soon the decision is written, and how soon the payment center is notified of a favorable ruling.  Also, it should be noted that many delays may be contributed to human error.  The above factors are not the only variables in receiving your first disability payment.  Other issues may arise creating substantial time delays in the process.  Today, millions of Americans are waiting even longer for their disability payments, unemployment checks, and food stamps.  Some sources state that the number of people waiting for their first disability checks has increased 38% in 2009 from 2008 due to the recession.  Many states have had to furlough payment processors causing substantial backlog in the processing centers.  When you receive your notice of award, there may be specific information regarding your disbursement of benefits. Regardless of how long you have to wait for the first payment, any past due payments that you are entitled to are usually being processed at the same time.  Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis finds achieving a favorable outcome at the hearing level should be your first priority and hopefully with the approval of … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
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November 10, 2009

Social Security Disability and Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

When Indiana residents are attempting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, they may find themselves questioned about their Activities of Daily Living or otherwise known as ADL. ADL are the things most people perform in the course of a regular day.  This may include personal hygiene, making meals, grocery shopping, and household chores such as doing the dishes, cleaning your home, and doing laundry. Why does Social Security care about your Activities of Daily Living?  Social Security typically will ask claimants, or third parties, questions about the claimant’s ability to perform ADL to determine whether or not they can perform work like activities and therefore be employed.  For instance, if you tell the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you are able to vacuum your house, clean your bathrooms, and do your laundry; the SSA might not find it too difficult to believe that you can do other work activities. At the hearing level, Administrative Law Judges (ALJ’s) are interested in your Activities of Daily Living.  During the claims process, questionnaires are usually completed by claimants or third parties regarding the claimant’s ADL.  Who is a third party?  These are names of individuals that the claimant has provided to the Social Security Administration of people who know of their personal situation. It is important for claimant’s to only provide the names of people who really know and understand what is going on in the claimant’s life.  These third parties are often contacted and asked questions regarding the claimant’s ADL, and it is important that they can provide correct and current information regarding the claimant’s ADL. In summary, it is important that Social Security claimants and third parties provide accurate information as to what a claimant can or cannot do. So keep your friends, neighbors, and relatives you have listed as third … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process
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September 17, 2009

Initial Evaluation of Your Social Security Disability Claim

Indiana Social Security disability claimants are often unaware of how their claim is evaluated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis often explains the evaluation process to his clients.  Scott recommends that once you become disabled, you file your  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim immediately with the SSA.  Once your claim has been submitted to the SSA, an employee of the SSA will determine if you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits.  The SSA will look at the following basic requirements: work history (evaluating whether you have worked long and recently enough to be insured for SSDI), age, who you are applying for (evaluating whether you are applying for yourself or as a family member of another who is disabled), and current monthly income (a maximum exists on how much you can earn each month and still qualify for disability benefits). If you meet the basic requirements, your claim is forwarded to the state Disability Determination Services (DDS) office for review. The DDS office makes the initial determination regarding your disability claim. The DDS team may consist of the following: a physician a psychologist, and other disability specialists. Before making a decision an examiner will request any missing health documents from your health care provider and will determine if the DDS has all the information and documents needed to make a determination of your claim.  The DDS may also request other information they believe is necessary to properly evaluate your disability claim. It is very important you provide current contact information and that you provide as many documents as you can to speed up the evaluation of your disability claim.  Sometimes, the DDS determines that the claim can not be properly evaluated based on the available information and documents.  The DDS may ask you to attend a … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process
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June 4, 2009

Obtaining Social Security Disabiltiy Benefits with Good Medical Records

Most people are not familiar with the Social Security disability claims process.  When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the success of your claim often depends on providing good supporting medical records.  It is important to know what medical documentation that the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs.  Without an attorney, it is the SSA’s responsibility to secure your medical records.  An attorney has experience in knowing how to request this information from doctors and other medical professionals.  Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis sees a variety of medical records every day and knows how important good supporting medical documentation can be in getting your Social Security benefits approved.  Here are a few key things to keep in mind when seeing your doctor and accumulating medical records: An abundance of pertinent records relating to your disability will usually help the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in finding a favorable result in your case. Try to make it easy on the Social Security Administration (SSA) by seeing your doctor(s) on a regular basis and providing the SSA with good medical records. Adequate progress notes can help in obtaining a favorable decision.  If your physician can document your disabilities on a consistent basis showing the disabilities you are having, it can greatly enhance your case. Tests verifying your disabilities can have an impact on a favorable outcome.  MRI’s, EKG’s, and various other objective tests showing the severity of your disability are things the SSA and your attorney can use to substantiate your case. A clear diagnosis or assessment of your disability is critical in getting your benefits.  The Listing of Impairments defines disabilities that the Social Security Administration recognizes.  If you have a distinct diagnosis by your physician that meets or equals one of these listings your ability to obtain Social … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
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May 15, 2009

Indiana Residents Filing a Request for Reconsideration

If your initial application for Social Security Disability Benefits has been denied and you disagree with this decision, you must file the following forms to keep the claims process moving forward: Request for Reconsideration (SSA-561-U2); Reconsideration Disability Report (SSA-3441-F6); and Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA-827). This is the first level of appeal after your initial denial. In simple terms, by filing these forms you are saying to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that they have made a mistake by not granting you Social Security disability benefits and they need to take another look at your claim. It is important to note that the SSA states that you have 60 days from the date of the initial claim denial to file a Request for Reconsideration, although it’s assumed that you received the letter five days after it was dated so actually you have 65 days.  If an Indiana claimant is untimely in filing the Request for Reconsideration within that allotted time, chances are he will be forced to start at the initial claim stage over again.  There are exceptions to this 60 day requirement.  If you can show good cause as to why you have filed late, you must supply the SSA with a reasonable explanation as to why the Request for Reconsideration is being filed late. Filling the required forms is not difficult.  Once filed, a Disability Examiner evaluates the claim.  Social Security claimants should remember that the majority of these Requests for Reconsideration claims are denied and result at the hearing level in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Remember, Social Security’s denial of your claim is not a personal attack on you.  The people who make these decisions do not know you or your case and most likely do not have all of the evidence they need to make a favorable decision.  It … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Social Security Disability Benefits Claims Process
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