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July 17, 2015

If My Initial Application For Social Security Disability Benefits is Denied, Should I Reapply?

Should you appeal your initial application denial or reapply if you are denied disability benefits?  If the Social Security Administration (SSA) states your disability is not severe enough to receive benefits, appealing the decision is usually the right move.  Many individuals believe that by simply reapplying the SSA may approve their new application, but statistically this is not accurate.  In my experience, it is in your best interest to appeal the initial denial. After your initial application is denied you have sixty (60) days to file a Request for Reconsideration.  Many individuals refer to this as an appeal.  The Request for Reconsideration is basically saying to the SSA that they made a mistake and need to take another look at your claim.  When you file your reconsideration, the SSA should also gather any new evidence for your claim as well.  If you submit the appeal on your own, you should include the updated information when prompted.  If an attorney or representative completes your appeal for you, they should be in touch with you for updated information. Unfortunately, the majority of these requests are also denied.  Once again you will have sixty (60) days to file an appeal and request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  Some statistics have shown you odds of winning your claim will increase at this stage. The majority of successful disability claims ultimately end up in front of an ALJ.  An administrative Law Judge is not bound by prior decisions by the SSA and is supposed to take a fresh look at your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. In my experience as a Social Security Disability attorney it is very important to appeal your denied claim within the time limits set forth by the SSA.  It is also … Continued

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December 24, 2014

Time Constraints on Appealing Your Indiana Social Security Disability Case

All too often, people call me for help in appealing their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, only to find out they have waited too long.  If Social Security denies your claim for Social Security disability benefits, you have sixty days to appeal that decision.  (Actually, Social Security allows five extra days for mailing time, so you have a total of sixty-five days from the date of your denial letter.)  If you have not submitted the appropriate forms before the deadline, Social Security will very likely dismiss your claim.  If that happens, you will probably have to start all over with another initial application. There can be times when the Social Security Administration (SSA) will accept an appeal filed after the deadline, but they will only do so if there is “good cause” for the late filing.  If you forgot the deadline, lost the paperwork, or just didn’t get the forms filled out on time, Social Security probably will not find that you have good cause.  On the other hand, if you were hospitalized, had a death in your immediate family, or never received the denial letter because Social Security sent it to the wrong address, there is a good chance that the SSA will accept your late filing.  Social Security makes a decision about good cause on a case-by-case basis.  The best thing to do is to file the appeal as soon as possible after you receive the denial. How can you make sure you don’t miss Social Security’s filing deadlines?  Here are some tips: Keep your Social Security office informed about changes in your address and/or telephone number. Follow up with Social Security regarding your claim.  In my office, we follow up about once a month during the initial application and reconsideration stages … Continued

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September 16, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyers Can Help In Appealing Your Social Security Disability Claim

At times, the Social Security disability claims process can be frustrating and confusing.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis talks to many clients about their concerns regarding the disability process.  Going through the difficult time of dealing with a disabling condition combined with the paperwork involved in a Social Security disability claim, may possibly create a very stressful situation.  Mr. Lewis strives to alleviate some of his clients worries by assisting them in the claims process. The Social Security disability claims process has very distinct stages in obtaining an outcome for your claim.  These can include:   Filing the initial claim application   Filing a “Request for Reconsideration”   Requesting a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge   Appealing the Judge’s decision to The Appeals Council Obviously the first step in any claim is getting started.  Filing an initial claim can be done by visiting the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov or by calling their toll free number at (800) 772-1213, or by visiting a local SSA office.  Mr. Lewis often spends time with prospective clients during this initial stage addressing their concerns. If your initial application is denied, the next stage in appealing your claim is to ask for a “Request for Reconsideration”.  This is basically telling the Social Security Administration they have made a mistake in denying your claim and they need to take another look at it.  Unfortunately, the majority of these requests are denied again, but it is important not to give up at this point if you feel you have a valid claim.  Proceeding on in the next steps in appeals process may be in your best interest. The next step, in what can turn out to be a lengthy process, is to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  Statistically, studies … Continued

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August 19, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyers May Be Able to Give You A Good Idea Of What To Expect At Your Appeals Hearing

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis believes one of the most important aspects of his job is to advise his clients as to what they can expect during a Social Security disability hearing.  While Social Security Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) may have varying formats in the way they run the hearings, a general theme usually guides their line of questioning. Disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds the questioning generally falls into three categories and these include: General questions Job related questions Medical questions General questions most likely the easiest questions for the claimant to answer.  Questions concerning your name, address, age, marital status, number of children you have,  height, weight, right or left handed, and even the type of home you live in.  Why does the Social Security Administration care about these things?  Remember, the facts always matter.  If you testify you are unable to take care of yourself, but also testify you have three young children you care for, the Judge may not put as much weight into the testimony that you are unable to care of yourself.  Sound fair? Maybe not, but it is important to remember there is usually a legitimate reason for every question you are being asked. As for job related questions, usually the Social Security Administrations is only concerned with jobs you performed over the last fifteen years that lasted over three months.  Okay, so now you’re thinking, “I have had so many jobs that it’s going to be hard to remember one I performed fifteen years ago.”  Well, the judge at your hearing may have a printout of your past occupations and through a line of questioning can usually help you remember your past relevant employment.  Also, at some hearings a vocational expert or “job expert” may be present and possibly has already examined … Continued

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July 8, 2011

If I Win My Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal, What Happens Next?

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney and has experience with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims from start to finish.  When a Social Security disability claim is found favorable it generally sets into motion a chain of events that hopefully will result in a payment to the disabled individual.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis advises his clients on what to expect in the event of winning their claim, but usually cautions them to not get ahead of themselves and concentrate on winning the disability claim first. So what happens after you receive a notice in the mail that you have won your disability claim?  If it is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim you can probably expect a phone call from the Social Security Administration to determine what resources you have among other factors to determine how much your monthly benefit will be.  The SSI program is basically a “needs” based program and how much the Social Security Administration determines you need through a formula that is used will determine how much you will receive. Once that is determined an award letter is generated detailing how much your payments will be, when they will start, and how much of a back payment is due if any. If you are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you will probably not be contacted by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The formula used for computing your payments is based on your work history.  This can usually be computed by the Social Security Administration without your assistance.  Resources are generally not an issue for computation purposes.  Once again, an award letter is generated telling you how much your payments ill be, when they start, and how much of a back payment is due if … Continued

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May 24, 2011

Missed The Deadline For Filing Your Social Security Disability Appeal?

You have received a denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for your Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and you had sixty (60) days to appeal this decision. In Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, this is an all too familiar scenario.  As some Indiana disability claimants experience, sixty (60) days may not seem like a whole lot of time and passes by before you know it causing you to miss the deadline set forth by the SSA to file an appeal. All SSDI or SSI claimants’ that have been denied disability benefits have the right to appeal that denial decision. As stated above, disability claimants have sixty (60) days from the date of the denial letter to file an appeal. Although, the SSA takes into account that the appeal period begins with the date of the denial notice, so they allow five additional days for the mailing time of the denial notice. Basically, this means that any disability applicant who receives a disability denial has five (5) extra days, for a total of sixty-five (65) days, to get their appeal to Social Security. In order for an appeal to be timely it must be in the Social Security office of jurisdiction on the sixty-fifth day from the date of the notice of denial. Disability claimants that want to file an appeal have a few ways to file the appeal. Appeals can be filed the following ways: Online at the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov, Mail in paper appeal forms, or You can go to your local SSA office and file your appeal in person. It really does not matter which method you choose, just make sure to complete all necessary forms and return any requested forms by the deadline date. Disability claimants that are represented by a disability attorney … Continued

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May 9, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Appeals Attorneys May Help You From Start To Finish With Your Social Security Disability Claim

Social Security disability lawyers (or representatives) representing Social Security disability claimants in Indiana may help their Indiana neighbors in the disability claims process from the very beginning to the very end if the claimant wishes so. Some disability claimants feel they do not need representation at the initial stages of filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  While others may have questions from “A to Z ” and may be confused by paperwork they have never seen before.  As a Social Security disability claimant, it is your right to have representation!  Whether you exercise this right to representation or not, some claimants find it comforting in just knowing that help is out there for you if you want it. On a daily basis, Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis answers numerous questions from disability claimants ranging from medical questions to financial eligibility.  Mr. Lewis finds much of his initial contact with potential clients involves many questions on exactly how to get the Social Security disability claims process started.  Indiana residents soon find out that there are a few different ways to get the ball rolling and which process is right one for them.  Also, Mr. Lewis attempts to explain how the disability claims process may unfold and how time constraints play an important role in processing Indiana Social Security disability claims. Another major part of Mr. Lewis’ job is to talk to his fellow Indiana residents about their disabling conditions.  Mr. Lewis understands this can be one of the most difficult times in the disability claimant’s life.  Many individuals not only need the technical aspects of their claim answered, but a compassionate sounding board to talk to about how a disability can make everyday life very difficult.  Indiana Social Security attorney Scott Lewis and his staff strive to help disabled individuals through these very trying times.  Mr. Lewis and his staff spend the majority of their … Continued

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