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November 21, 2011

Mental Disorders and Your Treating Physicians

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis talks to numerous clients about their mental condition(s) and finds that some of his clients may not be receiving the type of medical care they need in order to win their Social security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.  Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not put as much weight in all of the physicians you may be seeing because your medical professional may not specialize in a particular area. Mr. Lewis attempts to let all of his clients suffering from a mental condition that is preventing them from working to attempt to get appropriate medical treatment and that may be from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience a professional in the mental health field is usually more qualified to render a diagnosis that the Social Security Administration will recognize as legitimate when you are trying to get your benefits approved.  While your general practitioner may have a long history with you and may be very knowledgeable about your personal history, he/she may not possess the credentials needed to diagnose you with a mental disorder in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. It may be as simple as asking for a referral from your treating physician to get to a treating source the Social Security Administration will put stock in.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience many Administrative Law Judges like to see an ongoing therapist patient relationship documenting the progression of the mental illness.  There is usually no substitute for good medical records when stepping into the court room to address your Social Security disability appeal. Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis represents his Indiana neighbors with a wide variety of disabling conditions including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.  If you or someone you know … Continued

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May 4, 2011

Can My Kids Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

You may be surprised how often Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis gets asked the above question.  The truth is, there are specific guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) just for children.  The Social Security Administration does provide payments through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for disabled children. On many occasions, Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds himself discussing the “ins and outs” of the SSI program as it pertains to children with his potential and current clients.  One of the first hurdles many families may encounter when trying to obtain Indiana Social security disability benefits for their child is the question of income and resources.  If the child or a certain family member’s income and resources are above the limit set forth by the SSA, it may not matter how disabled the child is.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is what may be termed a “needs” based program.  In other words, if the SSA determines you don’t need it, you don’t get it.  So what happens if your child and family income and resources are below the limit?  At that point, the Social Security Administration will determine if your child has a qualifying disabling condition. When it comes to a child, what does the Social Security Administration consider a disabling condition?  Indiana residents may want to take a look at Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments.”  This is a guideline assembled to outline certain disabling conditions.  It should be noted there is a section that is focused solely on child disabilities.  If your child does not precisely meet one of these listings there are still other ways to win your Indiana Social Security disability appeal. In cases involving children, the Social Security Administration will look at several domains in determining if a child is disabled … Continued

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March 29, 2011

I Can’t Stand For Very Long, Can I Get Social Security Disability?

Indianapolis disability appeals attorney Scott Lewis talks to many individuals who are experiencing pain when performing jobs that require them to stand for either short or long periods of time.  There can be a variety of reasons contributing to the inability to stand, but the common theme is usually that the pain is so unbearable that the individual is forced to either sit down or lay down to alleviate it. How does the Social Security Administration look at your inability to stand when you are attempting to receive Indiana Social Security disability benefits?  Although there are many scenarios in which standing is an issue such as light, medium, and heavy work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may decide your inability to stand leaves you with what is termed “sedentary” occupations.  In other words a “sit down” job.  Many individuals who have found themselves reduced to sedentary jobs have no previous work experience with sedentary employment.  For example, a construction worker who suffers from a severe impairment creating the inability to stand for any length of time is usually shocked when he/she finds the Social Security Administration believes they can perform a desk job or other employment he/she has never done before.  Believe it or not, vocational experts (job experts) may testify at an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing that sedentary jobs can include packers, assemblers, surveillance system monitors and various other occupations. Does that mean you will lose your Social Security disability claim if you cannot stand to perform work?  Not always.  Various other factors come into play that may help you in winning your claim.  What if the pain you experience while standing also continues when you are sitting?  Continuous severe pain while sitting and standing may be enough to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Your age, … Continued

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December 13, 2010

Does The Social Security Administration Offers A “Short Term” Disability Benefit

You may be surprised how often this question gets asked to Indiana Disability Attorney Scott Lewis.  At times, Indiana residents find themselves unable to work due to a disabling condition, but anticipate returning to the workforce.  These short term disabling conditions may be due to the result of an auto accident, a surgery, or any other condition where you find yourself unable to work because of a physical or mental impairment.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis even receives telephone calls asking if a normal pregnancy can be a disabling condition.  To answer the question of whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a short term disability program, one must determine how short is short? The Social Security Administration has a condition that must be met that is called the “durational requirement.”  With this requirement, your disabling condition (either physical or mental) must have actually lasted for twelve (12) months or be expected to last for twelve (12) months.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds one way the Social Security Administration can turn down many claims is by stating your mental or physical disabling condition is not expected to last twelve (12) months.  Due to the fact that many medical conditions can be very difficult to determine how long they will last, it may be in your best interest to appeal an unfavorable decision if denied for this reason. Let’s say you are denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because the Social Security Administration states you do not meet the durational requirement and you decide not to appeal that decision. Now you find your disabling condition does not improve and you are still unable to work.  In this scenario, you may be past the time limit to appeal your claim. Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis usually advises his … Continued

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July 13, 2010

Why Does The Social Security Administration Care About My Past Employment?

A common question that many Indiana disability applicants have may be: why does the Social Security Administration care about my work history? Sometimes at an Administrative Law Judge hearing in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the judge and the job expert must find that you cannot return to any past work along with meeting other standards. It is important that in describing your past work history that you are very thorough. The more information that you give to your attorney, the judge, and the court in general, may increase your chances at winning your social security disability claim. When the court uses the phrase “past work” they are talking about any job that you have held for at least three months in the past 15 years. Any job older than the 15 year period is irrelevant because the person is likely to have lost the skill for the job or the technology they used is now outdated. After looking at your current abilities and disabilities the court will determine a RFC (residual functional capacity). This is a rating on how much work and what kind of work you can do. You may not be able to work construction, but a retail job may not be out of the question. This is why it is important to give an accurate past work history. The more details you give, the better the court can compare your prior skills to your current RFC. Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis often finds Indiana disability claimants have a difficult time remembering past work details. It may be helpful if Indiana Social Security Disability claimants make notes prior to the hearing in an Indiana courtroom to help them adequately describe prior employment.

Filed under: Evaluation Process
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February 10, 2010

What does the Social Security Administration (SSA) Mean by “A Combination of Impairments” When Deciding if I am Disabled?

It is important when trying to obtain your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to let the Social Security Administration (SSA) know all of your impairments or disabling conditions. Indianapolis lawyer Scott D. Lewis finds when interviewing his clients they often leave out some of their disabilities when attempting to receive Social Security disability benefits. You should not leave it up to the SSA to inquire what your disabling conditions might be. It may be beneficial to make a list of the severe and non-severe conditions that you experience. It is important to remember the Social Security Administration may also consider non-severe conditions in combination with severe conditions when deciding whether you will receive Social Security disability benefits. Indiana claimants should always remember the question at hand is whether you can perform your past relevant job(s) or other jobs that exist in the national economy. So, while you may consider the fact you have asthma as a minor problem, it may keep you from performing jobs around dust or fumes. Another example could be an individual suffering from anxiety cannot perform jobs requiring the individual to interact with the general public. While you may consider your back impairment the primary reason you cannot work, it is important that you let your Social Security disability attorney know that you have other medical issues that have an effect on your activities of daily living and your ability to hold down a job. Other conditions many individuals may not consider can include but are not limited to: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) Depression Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Diabetes Hepatitis Arthritis Learning Disorders Visual Impairments Hearing Loss Remember, just saying you have asthma is probably not enough. Seeing a medical professional on a regular basis and seeking treatment for your condition(s) … Continued

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December 23, 2009

Indiana Disability Determination Bureau (DDB)

What is the Indiana Disability Determination Bureau?  Indiana Social Security disability claimants are often confused by what the Disability Determination  Bureau (DDB) does for the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The DDB is also known as the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in some states.  DDB is a state-level agency is 100% federally funded whose duty is to determine disability eligibility among claimants.  The DDB’s determinations are made based on the SSA’s rules and regulations.  When a claimant has a question regarding the status of their claim, it is best for the claimant to contact the DDB because the DDB examiners evaluate and process the claims.  This should not be confused with the claims representative that works for the Social Security Administration.  Claims reps do not examine or evaluate the disability claims.  Many times, a claimant or the claimant’s attorney may be contacted by the DDB to answer some additional questions to assist in processing the claim.  Additional information may include: Activities of daily living such as how you perform yard work, prepare meals, shopping, and if you care for pets Personal hygiene Drug and/or alcohol use Additional physician information Where you live or who you live with Claimants usually have 10 days to respond to the DDB’s questions.  A claimant may ask the DDB for an extension to answer these questions.  The DDB is where all claims are reviewed and resolved in the initial claim level and the reconsideration level.  It’s typical that most of the claims reviewed by the DDB are denied at these levels.  If a claimant appeals the DDB’s decision, the claim will be heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  The ALJ will decide whether the claimant qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Scott D. Lewis, who is a practicing Indianapolis lawyer, finds … Continued

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December 10, 2009

Social Security Disability Claimants and Transferability of Skills

As a Social Security disability claimant reaches the final step of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) evaluation process, the SSA considers the claimant’s ability to perform other work which differs from past work. This is called transferability of skills. The SSA defines “transferable skills” as skills that can be used in other jobs when the skilled or semi-skilled work activities the claimant did in past work can be used to meet the requirements of skilled or semi-skilled work activities of other jobs or kinds of work. This greatly depends on the similarity of work activities among different jobs. Indiana disability claimants may wonder how the SSA determines this transferability of skills. It is likely that the SSA will determine a transferability of skills if the jobs have: The same (or less) degree of required skill, The same (or similar) equipment, machines, or tools are being used, and The same (or similar) material, process, products, services, etc. are involved. The SSA may not always determine a transferability of skills even though the above factors are met. Therefore, the SSA has different degrees of transferability that they consider. These degrees of transferability range from very close similarities to remote and incidental similarities among jobs. So, even though the three requirements may be met, when skills have been acquired in such an isolated vocational setting that they are not readily usable in other industries, jobs, and work settings or are so specialized, the SSA may consider these skills as not transferable. If you are a claimant that is 55 years old or older and you have a severe impairment(s) that limits you to light work or sedentary work, the SSA may find that you cannot make an adjustment to other work unless you have skills that you can transfer to other skilled or … Continued

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