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March 30, 2017

How Important Are My Employees To You?

Years of practicing Social Security Disability law have taught me the importance of having an exceptional office staff. Good Social Security help can be hard to find.  From answering initial client concerns to the final day in court, I find my staff to be diligent and caring.  My current staff greatly exceeds my expectations on a daily basis.   My receptionist, Lisa, is one-of-a-kind. She takes the time to listen to our clients.  Even after receiving many phone calls, she takes the initiative to talk with me about her concerns regarding our clients.  She continually asks questions to learn more about the Social Security process and expand her knowledge.  Many of my clients specifically ask for Lisa when they call, knowing she will remember them and address their needs.  The face of my office is at the reception desk, and I am fortunate Lisa is there to greet my clients.   My right hand man is Attorney Robert Tyree. I can trust Rob with every aspect of representing clients and running day-to-day operations of the business.  Rob is quick to answer questions and offer solid legal advice. His professionalism and steady hand cannot be overstated.  In my line of work, there is no task or job I would not trust Rob to handle.   Attorney Nick Moskalick heads up brief writing and formulating legal arguments for hearings. Nick also has daily interaction with new and existing clients, answering their questions and concerns.  Nick has been a welcome addition to the office, constantly striving to make each case stronger.  Nick discusses each case with me and informs me of positives and negatives that may impact a Social Security appeal.   The medical records section is driven by Attorney Jake Jones. Obtaining medical records to support your disability claim is an essential … Continued

Filed under: Indiana Social Security Disability Client
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November 18, 2016

Do You Know Why You Are Disabled?

That seems like a strange question doesn’t it? My clients tell me they are disabled, but many have a hard time saying it in a way the Social Security Administration (SSA) understands. Many people have Social Security disability questions.  There can be many reasons why it is hard to explain your inability to work.  You may have a rare condition the SSA is not very familiar with; you may have a combination of impairments that, all added together, make you unable to work; you may have to argue you meet special rules the SSA recognizes; or you may just simply be unable to work a full time job.  Trust me, claiming you are disabled to the SSA can be confusing and difficult, or it can be as easy as they want to make it for you.  That’s why knowing what to tell them can possibly create a make or break situation.   In my experience, you need to be careful how you phrase things to the Social Security Administration. First of all, being disabled is not a joke.  Going to physical and mental examinations the SSA sends you to and taking it lightly may result in that particular examiner noting your attitude to the SSA.  All the way through the process, you need to express accurately to the SSA what you are experiencing.   Fill out the forms the SSA gives you truthfully and in their entirety. Some claims can be processed favorably without much human interaction by giving the SSA ALL of the information they request.  Be proactive in your claim, especially at the initial level, to ensure the SSA gets all pertinent information.  Unfortunately, after initial denials, while waiting for a hearing, your claim may not be looked at again until you find yourself in front of an Administrative Law … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney, Indiana Social Security Disability Client, News, Social Security Disability Attorney || Tagged under:
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May 17, 2016

The Indianapolis Office of Disability Adjudication and Review

Most people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) end up having to go to a hearing if they pursue their claim after the initial denial.  If you live in central Indiana and have a hearing, you will likely end up at the Indianapolis hearings office. The address of the Indianapolis Office of Disability, Adjudication, and Review (ODAR) office is 151 N. Delaware Street, Room 400, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204.  The hearing office is in Market Square Center, but most people call it the “Gold Building” due to the gold glass windows on the outside of the building.  There is metered street parking and a parking garage east of the building.   You should plan to bring money to pay for parking; Social Security does not validate parking for you.  Once inside the building, take the elevators to the fourth floor. When exiting the elevators, look to your left and you will see a security officer. It is important to remember that the hearing office is a federal facility, so certain rules apply.  The security officer will ask to see valid photo identification, such as a drivers’ license or state ID card.  Make sure your license or ID card is not expired!  If it is, the judge may postpone your hearing until you obtain valid identification.  The security officer will also scan everyone entering the office with a metal detection wand.  It is important that you do not attempt to bring in guns, knives, or other sharp objects that could be used as weapons.  Once you are cleared by security you should check in at the window and have a seat in the waiting area. The Social Security Administration (SSA) employs Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to preside over the hearings.  The judges are men and women … Continued

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May 22, 2014

Is My Initial Consultation Really Free?

Your initial consultation with our office is free, and there are many reasons why.  When you call our office to initially discuss your claim, you will probably have many questions.  So will we.  We will need to talk to you to get an idea of whether you qualify for one of Social Security’s disability programs.  Also, during this first interaction with you we can get pertinent information that will give us a better “feel” for how we can help you.  Some of the questions we will probably ask you include, but are not limited to:  Are you still working?  It is possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits even if you are working, but there are limits on the number of hours you can work and the amount of monthly gross income you can earn. When is the last time you worked?  What is your household income?  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two disability programs: eligibility for Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) is based on the number of work credits you have earned in the past ten years; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on your household income and financial resources. What medical conditions do you have that keep you from being able to work?  These conditions can be mental, physical, or a combination of both; Social Security typically requires medical evidence showing that you have been diagnosed with these conditions and are receiving treatment for them. There are many other factors involved in a Social Security disability claim, including your age, education, and prior work experience.  You may wonder why these things are important.  The SSA determines your ability to work based on many things.  In some cases, Social Security takes into account the fact that there are fewer job opportunities in the economy for people over the age of fifty. … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney, Indiana Social Security Disability Client || Tagged under:
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July 11, 2011

Will My Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits Go On Forever?

Many people rely on Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits for survival.  Its not a truckload of money and many Indiana Social Security disability recipients find it difficult to make ends meet with only their disability checks from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  So if you are receiving disability payments and wonder if they will ever stop you are probably not alone. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments and your disabling condition is as severe as it was when you first were granted benefits and you are not working or receiving income up to a substantial gainful activity amount chances are your payments will probably continue. Although, you should not be surprised if your case is reviewed on a regular basis to determine your eligibility. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income payments the above criteria applies, but there is an additional aspect of continuing benefits with regard to resources.  Supplemental Security Income payments have a financial element along with the severity of your disability and substantial gainful activity.  As with SSDI claims, SSI claims can be regularly reviewed to determine continuing eligibility. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis understands how important a Social Security disability check can be to a disabled individual.  Mr. Lewis strives to get the benefits his clients deserve.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis has helped individuals with a wide range of disabling conditions including stroke, emphysema, fibromyalgia, mental retardation, and diabetes among other conditions.  If you have questions, you may want to contact an attorney or claimant representative, as most offer a free consultation.  

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September 23, 2010

If I Try to Work, Will My Social Security Disability Benefits Stop?

Many hard working Indiana residents struggle to accept the fact they are no longer able to work to support their families due to a disabling condition. Depending on your disability working part time or eventually returning to the work force full time may not be out of the question. There are a few things to consider, such as how much money you can make and what programs the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers to get you back in the workforce. The first thing a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient may want to consider is how much money they can make working without jeopardizing their Social Security disability benefits.  This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Amount.  This is a monthly amount an individual cannot exceed after subtracting impairment related work expenses.  SGA is a higher limit for statutorily blind individuals.  In 2010, the monthly dollar amount is $1,640 for statutorily blind individuals and $1,000 for other disabled individuals. A program of interest for Social Security disability recipients wanting to re-enter the workforce is the Trial Work Period.  In this scenario, a person may try to re-enter the workforce and still have earnings and continue to collect Social Security disability benefits. There are rules covering the Trial Work Period in the link provided above.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis receives calls on a weekly basis asking what the provisions are for earning money while collecting Social Security disability benefits and routinely steers these questions for more specific information to the Social Security Administration’s website.

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July 8, 2009

Alcoholism or Substance Abuse May Effect Your Social Security Disability Claim

It may be a surprise to know that not long ago Social Security disability claimants could have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for having alcoholism and substance abuse problems.  Presently, alcoholism and substance abuse problems may be a huge barrier to obtaining these same benefits.  In 1996, Congress passed an act that prevented claimants that suffer from alcoholism and/or substance abuse to receive SSDI benefits.  Claimants that suffer from substance abuse addictions or alcoholism may find themselves receiving an unfavorable decision by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Before taking a look at the effects of the substance abuse or alcoholism, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will focus on the physical or mental impairment of the Social Security claimant.  If the SSA determines there is a disabling condition, the SSA will then consider the medical evidence showing a history of alcoholism or substance abuse.  At that point, the SSA will decide if the alcoholism or drug abuse is a contributing factor to that person’s disability. The key question is whether the alcoholism or drug abuse “materially” contributes to the disabling condition.  Social Security may ask that if the addiction was not there, would the claimant still be disabled.  It is important in these types of claims for the social security claimant to seek treatment and be in a treatment program.  Not all Administrative Law Judges are sympathetic to the plight of an addiction.  So if you are attempting to seek social security disability it is important to keep the above in mind when assessing your eligibility for Social Security benefits.  Indiana Attorney Scott D. Lewis is an experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer that can help you with your claim.  Contact Scott Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.   

Filed under: Indiana Social Security Disability Client
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June 3, 2009

How does the Social Security Administration Determine if you are Disabled?

Indiana residents may wonder how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines if they are disabled.  In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the SSA must find you disabled.  There are many factors that go into answering this question.  Outlined below is the five-step process that the SSA uses to decide if you are disabled. Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis suggest that you keep the following in mind when you decide to file a claim.  Are you working?  If you are employed and your monthly earnings average more than a certain amount designated by the SSA, the SSA generally will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year. For the current figure, visit the SSA website.  If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, then they will look at your medical condition.  Many times, Social Security claimants are unclear of what earnings count.  If you have questions, contact Attorney Scott Lewis.  Is your medical condition “severe”?  For the SSA to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and remembering, for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that considered severe, you will not be considered disabled. If your condition is severe, the SSA goes on to the next step. Is your medical condition on the SSA’s List of Impairments?  The SSA has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe that you automatically qualify as being disabled. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, they will look to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals that of a … Continued

Filed under: Indiana Social Security Disability Client
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May 18, 2009

Social Security Disability Clients

Often, Indiana Social Security Disability Claimants wonder how they can effectively work with their attorney in order to help their case.  In my experience as an Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney, I have found just a few things that my clients can do to enhance the chances of winning their Social Security claim and also help maintain a good working relationship with my office. Continue to see your medical professionals.  As your attorney, I can argue until I am blue in the face to the Social Security Administration (SSA) about how disabled you are, but if we don’t have good supporting medical records the SSA usually doesn’t hear us.  If financially affordable, continue to see your physicians and accumulate medical documentation to support your case. Meet deadlines.  If you receive materials that are time sensitive, make sure you meet those deadlines.  Before hiring an attorney, you may be responsible for filing your appeal.  Failing to meet these deadlines may result in starting the Social Security process from the beginning again.  Once you hire an attorney to represent you, they strive to meet these deadlines, but can still use your input. Communication.  If your disability worsens or you go back to work, contact your lawyer.  There are certain times when a worsening condition may need to be addressed with the SSA in order to expedite the process.  Also, if you have returned to the workforce and no longer are seeking Social Security benefits, you should alert your attorney so he can assess the situation and possibly facilitate in withdrawing your Social Security claim. Be patient.  We understand the stress your disability and the lack of funds can put on a claimant’s life. Unfortunately, the Social Security Claims process in Indiana can be very long.  We, like our clients, get frustrated with the long waiting period.  It is important to realize that this process is more like a marathon than a sprint, and … Continued

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