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March 19, 2011

Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal and Cerebral Palsy

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis disability lawyer who sees a variety of disabling conditions and cerebral palsy is no exception.  It is not uncommon for potential clients to call his office and ask how severe their disabling condition must be in order to be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When should you inquire about your Indiana Social Security disability benefits for cerebral palsy or any other disabling condition?  In most cases, it is when your condition prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity.  In other words, apply for disability benefits when you find yourself unable to take care of yourself and/or your family due to a disabling condition or combination of disabling conditions. Cerebral palsy is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disabling condition if it meets certain criteria.  To start with an Indiana disability claimant may want to turn to the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments”.  This publication outlines various disabling conditions the SSA will consider in making a favorable or unfavorable decision when deciding if your condition meets or equals certain standards.  The Social Security Administration evaluates cerebral palsy under section11.00 Neurological Impairments and more specifically 11.07 for cerebral palsy. Examining the criteria needed to qualify for this impairment while at the same time taking a close look at your treating physician’s medical records may help you determine if you do indeed meet or equal the criteria needed to be determined disabled. Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis often sends a list of questions to his Indiana disability claimant’s physician(s) in hopes they may complete these forms in such a way it verifies that his client meets the listing making it easier for the Social Security Administration to find you disabled. What … Continued

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February 18, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Degenerative Disc Disease

In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, one of the most common disabling conditions his clients share is problems with their backs and necks. Disabling conditions in this area can include, but are not limited to scoliosis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. These conditions can cause severe chronic pain that may make it unbearable to maintain full or part time employment. One of the most common types of back pain is due to degenerative disc disease.  As we age, it is not uncommon for this condition to occur.  Causes of degenerative disc disease may include outer layer tears in the disc and fluid loss in the disc.  Depending on the location of the disc or discs affected usually dictates where a person feels the pain. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes degenerative disc disease in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 1.04 Disorders of the Spine.  It is important for Indiana disability appeals claimants to note that they do not have to meet or equal this listing in order to receive Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Securit Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Administration may also consider an individual’s physical residual functional capacity.  Physical residual functional capacity refers to the limitations you may have considering items such as your inability to stand, sit, walk, and lift causing you to be unable to maintain employment.  The SSA may also consider the pain the claimant experiences when deciding if they are able to maintain employment. In Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, good medical records are key to winning your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Imaging tests such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s) may be critical in winning your disability claim.  It is also important to let your treating physician know the … Continued

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February 7, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Claimants with Depression

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis is an experienced attorney representing Social Security disability claimants.  Many of his Indiana Social Security disability clients suffer mental disorders such as depression.  Often, disability claimants with depression do not have sufficient medical documentation to back up their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Some disability claimants lack health insurance causing insufficient medical documentation.  Mr. Lewis advises his clients to investigate in the low income health programs or programs offered to uninsured individuals located in the Indianapolis area such as Wishard’s Health Advantage program.  Some other reasons disability claimants with depression may lack medical documentation supporting their claim is because a claimant may not be seeing doctors because they are ashamed of their disabling condition so they don’t seek the medical attention that they need from a mental health professional.  Having a lack of medical history to support your disability claim may ultimately cause you to lose your case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) approves SSDI or SSI claims based on medical evidence, so if you are suffering from depression, it is important to seek out the opinion of a qualified mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who will provide documentation to back up your claim.  It may be helpful that these professionals need to identify that: you are indeed suffering from clinical depression; and your depression significantly interferes with your ability to work. If your mental health physician has prescribed you medication to help you with your depressive state, the SSA may frown upon your lack of compliance if you do continue to take your medications.  Medications such as anti-depressants may not enough to prove your case.  A psychiatrist can be most effective in helping you to demonstrate the following to the SSA: The individual is depressed and suffering from a history of mental health issues related to his/her … Continued

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February 1, 2011

Anxiety Disorder and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

Are you an Indiana resident unable to work because you are suffering from anxiety disorder?  Anxiety disorders are the most common of emotional disorders.  Anxiety disorder affects more than 20 million Americans each year.  This is approximately one out of nine people suffering from anxiety disorder.   Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis has numerous disability clients suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder.  Disability claimants may experience one or several symptoms associated with anxiety such as: uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, overwhelming feelings of panic & fear, recurring nightmares, and painful, intrusive memories. Physical symptoms of this emotional disorder include, but are not limited to: sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, shaking, muscle tension, and other uncomfortable physical reactions. Anxiety disorder differs from normal feelings of nervousness, as the symptoms often occur for no apparent reason and do not go away. These alarming reactions can make everyday experiences sources of potential terror. Anxiety disorder can be characterized as one of the following five types:  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Phobia, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Generalized Anxiety Disorder is defined by at least six months of a constant state of worry or tension and is not related to a specific event.  A person with Panic Disorder experiences repeated, unprovoked attacks of anxiety or terror lasting up to 10 minutes. Disability claimants with Social Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and overwhelming fears that lead a person to avoid common objects, social events, or situations. Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, persistent, and intrusive impulses or thoughts that the person feels can be controlled by performing repetitive behaviors. Indiana disability claimants with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) typically experience PTSD because they were a part of or witnessed a traumatic event or a series of events which resulted in severe stress symptoms lasting more than one month. How does … 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.  

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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.

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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 7, 2010

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits based on Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability. Indiana disability claimants suffering from arthritis may qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if the claimant meets the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis is experienced in representing claimants with various types of arthritis.  Many Indiana residents suffer from arthritis and are unable to work due to their condition. How does a person suffering from arthritis qualify for Social Security disability benefits? As all disabling conditions, the SSA uses a 5 step sequential evaluation process to determine if a disability claimant will receive SSDI or SSI benefits based on arthritis. In Step 1 of the evaluation process, the SSA wants to know if the claimant is working.  In this step, the SSA simply determines if an individual is “working.”  If so, the claimant must prove that they are earning less than the monthly Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) set by the SSA.  Earning more than the monthly SGA amount is enough for the SSA to deny the disability claimant’s SSDI or SSI application. In the next step of the evaluation process, Step 2, the SSA will ask if the claimant’s arthritis is severe.  The impairment must be severe enough to significantly limit the claimant’s ability to perform basic work activity. In addition, the arthritis must last, or be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.  It’s the claimant’s responsibility to prove that the disabling condition such as arthritis is severe enough that his or her ability to perform basic work activities are limited and will last a minimum of 12 months. If a disability claimant suffering from arthritis can pass Steps 1 & 2 of the evaluation process, the SSA will continue to Step 3 of the evaluation process.  In Step 3, the SSA … Continued

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September 29, 2010

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

Indianapolis Social Security disability Attorney Scott Lewis often talks to potential clients about disabling conditions that are very difficult to live with. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS can affect a Social Security disability claimant’s life in such a way as to make it impossible to maintain a full time job. For that reason, individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Irritable Bowel Syndrome may cause abdominal pain and cramping among other painful symptoms.  It can also be characterized by periods of loose stools and periods of constipation.  This painful condition can intrude on almost all aspects of a person’s life.  While there may be physical disabilities associated with IBS, there may also be mental disabilities including anxiety, stress, and even depression. How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) look at Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  The Social Security Administration recognizes Irritable Bowel Syndrome in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 5.06 Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  What happens if your case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not precisely meet the listing?  You may still be able to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim or Indiana Social Security disability appeal.  If you can show Irritable Bowel Syndrome effects you in such a way that you cannot perform substantial gainful activity.  Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome may prevent you from working because you have to take unscheduled breaks.  Most employers are unable to tolerate a worker that cannot stay on task for certain periods of time. Indiana residents that suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS and are unable to perform work like activity because of this disabling condition may want to consult with a Social Security disability attorney to evaluate their claim.  Many disabilities such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be difficult to discuss, but it is important for Indiana and Indianapolis Social Security disability claimants to … Continued

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September 2, 2010

Hearing Loss and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

Many Indiana residents experience some degree of hearing loss. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has some programs that provide disability benefits to people with permanent impairments such as hearing loss. Indianapolis Social Security disability claimant’s with hearing loss may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if they meet the criteria required by the SSA in the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments”.  To determine whether you qualify for such benefits, the SSA’s criteria for hearing loss can be found in the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments,” Section 2.0, Special Senses and Speech. There are two different listings for hearing loss on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments.  In Section 2.10, criteria is defined for people who have hearing loss and do not have a cochlear implant.  In Section 2.11, criteria is defined for disability applicants who have had a cochlear implant. What evidence should a disability claimant provide the SSA to help win their disability claim? The SSA will need evidence showing that you have a medically determinable impairment that causes your hearing loss and audiometric measurements of the severity of your hearing loss.   Generally, the SSA requires both a complete otologic examination and audiometric testing to establish that the claimant has a medically determinable impairment that causes the hearing loss. Once the SSA has evidence that the claimant has a medically determinable impairment, the SSA can use the results of audiometric testing to assess the severity of the hearing loss without another complete otologic examination. Test scores together with any other relevant information about your hearing may help support your disability claim. It’s important to know the SSA’s requirements in order to successfully submit medical evidence in support of your claim.  The SSA requires that the complete otologic examination must be performed by a licensed physician (either medical or osteopathic doctor). This exam must include the following: medical history, description of how the … Continued

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