July 23, 2010
Many Indiana residents living with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an injury caused by repetitive movements that strain the median nerve of the carpal tunnel area of the wrist. This results in tissue enlargement that pinches the median nerve running through your hand. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may include sensations of burning or tingling, loss of grip strength or dexterity, locking of joints, swelling, inflammation, or pain. Currently the Social Security Administration has no entry in the Listing of Impairments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is why most people do not know that they may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not have a entry in the listing of impairments because it is not considered one of the more common disabilities. A likely reason for this is because most people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can perform other aspects of their job. Typing may be hard for someone living with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but answering the phone or going to meetings may not require repetitive use of the hands resulting in pain. While Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may not be recognized in the listing of impairments, it can be considered a disabling condition by the Social Security Administration. An Administrative Law Judge may find Carpal Tunnel Syndrome prevents you from returning to past employment, and may find that due to your condition there are no jobs in the economy in significant numbers you can preform. Indiana Residents that have questions as to if their condition is severe enough to receive benefits may want to contact a Social Security Disability Attorney.
July 13, 2010
It is estimated that by the end of the year 2010 a little over 43,000 people will have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States. Some of these people are Indiana residents wondering if they can receive social security disability benefits for this condition. Pancreatic cancer is in section 13.20 in the listing of impairments under malignant neoplastic diseases. As defined by The Mayo Clinic, Pancreatic Cancer is cancer of the organ that lies directly under your stomach. The pancreas releases enzymes that help digest food and hormones for your metabolism. Some symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include pain in your upper abdomen, jaundice, loss of appetite, weight loss, and clinical depression. No one knows for sure what causes pancreatic cancer but there may be some risk factors. These may include age over 60 years old, smoking, obesity, and African-American ethnicity. There are many different tests that a doctor may perform to determine if someone has pancreatic cancer. The most common is a biopsy, while an x-ray or a CT scan might also be used. Indiana residents attempting to receive social security disability benefits from the social security administration may be interested in knowing the different stages of pancreatic cancer. There are four main stages of pancreatic cancer. Stage one is cancer in the pancreas only. Stage two is after the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and possibly the lymph nodes. Stage three is when the cancer has spread to the major surrounding blood vessels and the lymph nodes. Stage four is cancer that has spread to all surrounding organs and most of the abdomen. There are two main treatments for pancreatic cancer. The first is surgery. This is only possible if the cancer is in its early phases. This procedure involves removing the pancreatic head if … Continued
July 8, 2010
Emphysema affects 2 million Americans annually. People with this condition often wonder if they can receive social security disability benefits. The answer is yes, you may be able to receive social security disability benefits for emphysema and other lung conditions including asthma, cystic fibrosis, and lung cancer. Mayo Clinic defines emphysema as a condition that limits the amount of airflow when you breathe out. Some symptoms of emphysema might be shortness of breath and/or expansion of the chest caused by the trapped air in the lungs. The primary cause of emphysema is the smoking of cigarettes, but it can also be caused by an alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency. The diagnosis of emphysema will be confirmed by a pulmonary function test and most likely an x-ray. Emphysema is an irreversible degenerative disease. The only thing to do to slow the progression is to stop smoking and/or not breathing any other lung irritants in. Pulmonary rehabilitation can help improve the patient’s quality of life and teach them how to manage their condition, but will not cure them. The only true cure for emphysema is a lung transplant but many of the patients are not strong enough to survive the surgery. This is due to the many drugs that emphysema patients are given to help the quality of life that cause damage to the other organs. The risk of infection is also very great with transplants because of the anti-rejection drugs that the patients must take. These drugs suppress the immune system therefore making infections deadly.
June 23, 2010
Many disability applicants wonder if they can receive disability benefits for panic disorders and agoraphobia. Those suffering from these disorders often find everyday life difficult to live. Agoraphobia is commonly known as an anxiety disorder revolving around fear. Agoraphobia can be fear of public places, fear of large crowds, or the presence of people in general. At its simplest definition it is the fear of experiencing anxiety or panic attacks in public places. Many agoraphobics most often have attacks when they feel insecure or trapped. The cause of agoraphobia is still unknown but women are more often diagnosed with it than men. People that abuse alcohol and other drugs also have an increased risk more than people that do not. The onset of agoraphobia can come at any time in a person’s life but is most common starting in the teen years to early twenties. Agoraphobics tend to isolate themselves so that they do not have panic attacks. If the condition gets severe enough it could include never leaving home; things like work, shopping, or school can be nearly impossible. Even though agoraphobia is a psychological disorder, many times it causes physical symptoms. A few examples are chest pains, difficulty breathing, or dizziness. While it is often thought there is no way to prevent agoraphobia there are treatments. Treatment consists mainly of medications and psychotherapy. If treatment does not start early, agoraphobics’ phobias may become worse over time.
May 19, 2010
How is an Indiana Social Security disability claimant supposed to prove they are unable to work due to degenerative disc disease? Degenerative disc disease is a very common disability among Indianapolis Scott D. Lewis‘ clients. In Attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, degenerative disc disease can be difficult claim to win without the appropriate medical evidence and especially for anyone under the age of 50. On the other hand, a disability claimant under the age of 50 with appropriate medical records may find themself winning a disability claim by meeting a listing in the Social Security Adminsitration’s Listing of Impairment or having such reduced physical capacity that they are unable to work. Disability claimants may wonder why it is so difficult to win their claim when they are experiencing so much pain. Unfortunately, the only person that knows the amount of pain the claimant is experiencing is the claimant. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does list degenerative disc disease along with other qualifying disabilities such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, herniated nucleus pulposus, and spinal arachnoiditis under their “Listing of Impairments,” Section 1.04, Disorders of the Spine. To meet this listing, it is important for the disability claimant to prove their disability is severe enough to cause them to be unable to work by providing medical evidence supporting their claim. When the SSA receives a disability claim based on degenerative disc disease or other disabilities such as back pain, lumbar problems, herniated disc, spinal stenosis or degenerative joint disease, the SSA should immediately look for supporting medical evidence. Some supporting medical evidence may include: diagnosis of the disease by a treating physician x-ray reports, MRI studies, or CAT scans indicating disc deterioration Because degenerative disc disease may be diagnosed based on the claimant’s symptoms, it is extremely important to have imaging studies such as MRI studies … Continued
May 18, 2010
Are you an Indiana resident that is unable to work because you have been diagnosed with scoliosis? Social Security disability claimants that have been diagnosed with spinal impairments such as scoliosis may be able to win their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits claim even though the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments do not include scoliosis. Scoliosis is a spinal deformity that is characterized by both lateral and rotational curvature of the spine. Whether you are diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis or congenital scoliosis, both types have similar symptoms. Such symptoms may include: uneven muscle development on one side of the spine, rib hump, uneven shoulder blades, uneven shoulders and hips, or asymmetrical breast development in females. Treatment for scoliosis varies depending on the age of the individual. Typically, younger individuals are often treated with braces to prevent the progression of scoliosis. However, braces are not used on adults. Some believe that surgery remains the most successful treatment method for individuals with large curvatures of the spine. Spinal fusions with instrumentation may be the most successful surgical procedure although these procedures will not completely straighten the spine, but do provide good correction. So, how do I win my disability claim if the SSA doesn’t have medical criteria for abnormal curvature of the spine such as scoliosis? Since the SSA does not have a listing in their “Listing of Impairments” specifying the medical criteria for disability based on curvature of the spine, a claimant must prove their disability in other ways. The disability claimant will need to be awarded disability based on a type of approval known as a medical vocational allowance. What is medical vocational allowance and how does it work? When an SSDI or SSI disability claimant’s case is evaluated, a determination will be made as to whether or not the disability claimant is capable of returning … Continued
May 11, 2010
Mental illness, such as schizophrenia, can be disabling. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person experiences reality. Schizophrenia must be diagnosed by a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or other clinician, and may be characterized by: paranoia, hallucinations, bizarre delusions & perceptions, lack of emotions or motivations, and social and occupational dysfunction. Schizophrenia is a complicated disorder that is commonly treated by antipsychotic drugs, which can alleviate symptoms in some patients, but not cure the disease. Persons with a serious mental illness are just as entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments as persons with a serious physical illness. Since the criteria to qualify for Social Security disability benefits may be fairly complex, most Indiana claimants with schizophrenia elect to have a Social Security disability lawyer represent them in their disability claim. Schizophrenia is addressed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments, Section 12.03, Schizophrenic, Paranoid, and Other Psychotic Disorders. A disability claimant may qualify for disability benefits by either meeting or equaling the specifications of listing 12.03. Stated in this listing, a disability applicant’s medical records must show the existence of intermittent or continuous: Delusions or hallucinations or Catatonic or other grossly disorganized behavior or A state of illogical thinking, incoherence, loosening of associations, or poverty of content of speech (associated with either a blunt, flat, or inappropriate display of mood or affect) or Emotional withdrawal and/or isolation. For an Indiana disability claimant to satisfy the requirements of listing 12.03, their records must also indicate that at least two of the following apply: Markedly restricted daily activities; Marked restrictions in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; Marked restriction in the ability to maintain social functioning; Extended and repeated episodes of decompensation; If a disability applicant does not qualify for disability on the basis of the above criteria, a disability claimant … Continued
April 30, 2010
Autism is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disabling condition. Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder that affects social interaction and communication skills. Some symptoms of autism include, but are not limited to, repetitive or restricted behavior or lack of communication. The majority of Attorney Scott Lewis‘ disability clients attempting to receive disability benefits for autism have been children. While most of these clients are children, adults with autism may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. Indiana disability claimants facing this impairment may be entitled to disability benefits. Found in the SSA’s Listing of impairments, Section 12.10, Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (in both the adult and childhood listings) are the criteria required by the SSA for meeting the requirements for people with autism. There are several different types of autism including, but not limited to, Classic Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. According to the SSA, the required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied. A. Medically documented findings of the following: All of the following for autistic disorder: Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; and markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests; OR Both of the following for other pervasive developmental disorders: Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; AND B. Resulting in at least two of the following: Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration. Many of the types of autism that Attorney Scott Lewis observes are Classic Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, … Continued
April 28, 2010
Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents claimants that are fighting to win Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Many of his Indiana clients ask him what disabilities will qualify them for these disability benefits programs. Even though a claimant doesn’t always have to meet one the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Listing of Impairments in order to win their claim, a claimant can win their claim if they do in fact meet the criteris of one the qaulifying impairments. The SSA has listed the criteria for each of these listed impairments that will medically qualify a person for SSDI or SSI benefits. This listing may also known as the SSA’s “Blue Book.” Impairments listed in the SSA’s Blue Book fall under one of the following categories: Musculoskeletal System Special Senses & Speech Respiratory System Cardiovascular System Digestive System Genitourinary Impairments Hematological Disorders Skin Disorders Endocrine System Impairments the Affect Multiple Body Systems Neurological Mental Disorders Malignant Neoplastic Disease Immune System Disorder Every impairment has its own criteria for qualification or approval. Disabling conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, personality disorders, anxiety, spine disorders, leukemia, and a variety of other cancers are included in this list of impairments. Many times, the disability examiner that is reviewing the claimant’s application will simply open the SSA’s blue book and compare the disorder requirements with the medical evidence of the claimant. If the disability claimant’s supporting medical evidence meets the criteria of the listing, the claimant will be approved for disability benefits. Unfortunately, not all disabling conditions are included in the SSA’s listing of impairments. For example, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome are among some of the impairments not listed in the qualifying listing of impairments. Disability claimants with such conditions might wonder … Continued
March 22, 2010
Indianapolis Social Security disability claimants filing a disability claim based on seizure disorder (or epilepsy) often wonder how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates this disorder in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify for disability benefits based on this neurological condition, the following two requirements must be met: A claimant must have a specified number of attacks, or episodes, occurring within a specified period of time; and The episodes must occur even with a claimant’s full compliance with prescribed medications. Simply stated,the disability claimant must demonstrate proof of a seizure disorder diagnonis or epilepsy diagnosis and must also indicate that anti-seizure medication has been prescribed, is being taken as directed, and that attacks continue to occur regardless of medications being taken. At what frequency must these attacks take place in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits? According to the SSA, it depends on the type of epilepsy, or seizure disorder, that a disability claimant has. There are two types of seizure disorders that are addressed. These seizures include convulsive epilespy and non-convulsive epilepsy. If a claimant’s particular form of seizure disorder is classified as “convulsive epilepsy” (grand mal seizures), such seizures must occur more frequently than once per month, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment. If these convulsive seizures occur during the day, these seizures must also involve loss of consciousness and convulsions. If they occur at night, they must have the effect of interfering with the individual’s activities on the following day. If a claimant’s seizure disorder is classified as “non-convulsive epilepsy” (petit mal seizures or focal seizures), such seizures must occur more frequently than once per week, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment. Additionally, non-convulsive seizures must involve either loss of consciousness, alteration of awareness (for … Continued