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October 2, 2013

Is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) a disabling impairment for Social Security Benefits?

Many Indiana residents who have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection or AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) contact my Indianapolis office to ask if their condition will qualify them for Social Security disability benefits. If you have HIV/ AIDS and your symptoms keep you from being able to work, you may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration. There are two ways to show the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your HIV/AIDS is a disabling condition; you can show that your symptoms “meet the listing” for HIV, or you can show that your combination of impairments reduce your capacity to perform work activities. HIV infection is addressed by §14.08 of Social Security’s Listing of Impairments.  If your medical records show that you fulfill the criteria of this listing, Social Security will most likely find that you are disabled.  First, your medical records must contain documentation that you have HIV infection, either from laboratory test results or other evidence.  Then, you must show that you have at least one of the following: Bacterial infections such as mycobacterial infection, nocardiosis, Salmonella bacteremia, or other recurrent infections requiring hospitalization or frequent IV antibiotic treatment Fungal infections such as aspergillosis; certain types of candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis; histoplasmosis; mucormycosis; or Pneumocystis Protozoan or helminthic infections such as cryptosporidiosis, isosporiasis, or microsporidiosis that cause diarrhea; extra-intestinal strongyloidiasis; or some types of toxoplasmosis Viral infections such as certain types of cytomegalovirus disease, certain types of herpes simplex, certain types of herpes zoster, or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopthy Malignant neoplasms such as certain types of carcinoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, or squamous cell carcinoma HIV encephalopathy with progressive cognitive or motor dysfunctio HIV wasting syndrome with chronic diarrhea or chronic weakness with fever Chronic, treatment-resistant diarrhea requiring IV hydration or feeding Chronic or treatment-resistant infection such as sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis, or sinusitis Repeated manifestations of HIV infection that do not fit in the above categories but result in significant, documented symptoms and marked limitation in your activities of daily living, social functioning, … Continued

Filed under: Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments, Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) || Tagged under:
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October 1, 2013

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and your Indiana Social Security Disabilty Claim

As an Indiana resident seeking disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must show that you are unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).  SGA is the performance of physical or mental activities in work for pay or profit.  Work is substantial if it involves significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both.   Even if work is performed on a seasonal or part-time basis, the SSA may still consider it substantial.  Work is gainful if it is a type of activity that is usually done for pay or profit, regardless of whether a profit is realized. The following types of activities are generally not considered SGA by Social Security: Self-care Household tasks Hobbies Therapy School attendance Clubs/social programs However, even if these activities are not considered SGA, Social Security may look at your ability to perform them when determining whether you are able to work.  If you are able to attend school full-time, or if you participate in hobbies that require a lot of physical activity, Social Security may consider those activities to be “work-like,” and find that even though you are not presently engaged in SGA, you are still able to work.  Therefore, during the application process, the SSA usually asks claimants about their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).If your impairments do not limit your ability to perform activities such as shopping, driving, and household chores, the SSA may believe you are capable of gainful employment.  The fact that you are not currently engaged in SGA does not necessarily mean that you are not capable of engaging in SGA. Substantial work may, under some conditions, be disregarded if it is discontinued or reduced after a short time because of your impairment.  This type of work is considered an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA).  Therefore, If you attempt to return to work after you have started an application … Continued

Filed under: Social Security Disability Attorney, Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) || Tagged under:
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January 7, 2011

The Social Security Administration and An Unsuccessful Work Attempt

You want to work and you know even with Social Security disability benefits you are going to struggle to make ends meet.  Even with all of the extreme pain you are experiencing, you finally find a job and drag yourself to it just to find out there is no way you can work.  You realize you cannot make it through a full day of work, and even if you do, you find yourself out of work for two days because of the pain you are in from forcing yourself to work.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis has heard the above scenario on numerous occasions.  If this has happened to you or a loved one this might be considered by the Social Security Administration as an “unsuccessful work attempt” or UWA. What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA)?  This is where a person attempts to do substantial work, but stops or reduces the work to below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) levels after six months or less because of a disabling condition or because of removal of special conditions related to the disabling condition. Other issues concerning an Unsuccessful Work Attempt that may have an impact can include whether you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), trial work periods, and extended periods of eligibility.  More information concerning these topics and other useful topics can be found in the Social Security Administration’s publication “The Red Book”. The good news is you do not have to tackle unanswered questions alone. Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott D. Lewis strives to answer many questions concerning eligibility for Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis talks to potential clients about claims involving bipolar disorder, scoliosis, stroke, epilepsy, depression, and many other severe impairments.

Filed under: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) || Tagged under:
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December 12, 2010

Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis Answers Questions About Returning To Work During The Claims Process

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis fields occasional telephone calls from his Indiana disability clients asking what the ramifications will be if they try to reenter the workforce.  As fundamental as it may sound, the facts of a particular case always matter.  Many Indiana residents are finding they are having a difficult time putting food on the table for themselves and their families during a very lengthy application and appeals process.  A few topics Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis may encounter may include: Are you considering a full time or part time job?  If your disabling condition(s) do not permit you to work full time, but you think you may be able to work part time, you may be interested in a term call “Substantial Gainful Activity” or “SGA”.  This is an amount the Social Security Administration determines as earnings you can make on a monthly basis and still be entitled to disability benefits.  SGA for 2010 is $1,640.00/month for statutorily blind individuals and $1,000.00/month for non-blind individuals.  There are different criteria for those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) concerning blind individuals. It appears these amounts will also be valid for 2011, but more information concerning SGA can be found on the Social Security Administration’s website. Should you withdraw your claim for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as soon as you start back to work?  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis usually advises his clients to wait and see if they are actually able to perform a full-time job or a job that creates more than the SGA for a number of months before withdrawing their claim. Many times, individuals believe they can work but find their condition prevents them from performing substantial gainful activity. If you have been waiting for an Indiana Social Security … Continued

Filed under: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) || Tagged under:
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July 2, 2009

Can My Social Security Disability Benefits Run Out?

As an Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney, many of my clients ask if their Social Security Disability benefits will run out or only last for a short period of time. The answer to this particular question is “no”, but there are specific reasons that it may stop. For example, if your disabling condition gets better and/or you have reached recovery, then your payments will stop. Additionally, if you return to work and earn over a certain amount of money per month, again, your payments will stop. The Social Security Administration (SSA) refers to this as “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA). In 2009, the SGA is $980/month for non-blind recipients. The SSA periodically reviews Social Security recipient’s files to determine whether or not their disability continues to be severe enough to prevent them from working. Once you reach retirement age, your Social Security disability benefits will automatically turn into Social Security retirement benefits. The year that you were born will determine at what age Social Security will recognize as your eligible retirement age. If you have any further questions regarding the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, please call my law firm and ask for Attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free consultation.

Filed under: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
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April 22, 2009

Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits while Working

Are you currently employed but are considering filing for Social Security Disability Benefits because you are disabled?  Are you wondering if you make too much money at your job in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs?  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a multi-step questioning process in deciding whether or not you are disabled.  The first step in this process is to determine if the claimant is unable to engage in “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA).  SGA is defined as any activity that can be done for profit for a specified period of time.  This profit is the money earned from performing this activity and is limited by the SSA.  Do not misinterpret this definition as being “work related” activity but understand that this is any activity that qualifies and is based on the amount of money you have made, or could have made, from the activity.  The SSA has a specific earnings guideline to determine if you are engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity.  The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person’s disability (blind vs. non-blind individuals).  In 2009, the SGA amount for non-blind individuals is an average of $980 per month and for blind individuals it is an average of $1,640 per month.  If you earn more than these amounts, it’s unlikely you will be considered disabled.  Every year, these amounts increase as there are increases in the National Average Wage Index.  When calculating your monthly earnings, you may be able to deduct certain Impairment Related Work Expenses that allow you to be able to work.  For the expenses to be considered an Impairment Related Work Expense, the expense must not be reimbursed, must be related to your disability, and needed in order for you to be able to work. Contact Indiana … Continued

Filed under: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
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