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February 3, 2011

Searching for an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

Indiana Social Security disability attorneys can help disability claimants who are unable to work due to an impairment or a combination of impairments lasting or expecting to last a minimum of twelve (12) months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, processes claims, and administers the benefits program. A Social Security disability lawyer or representative may help guide clients through what can be a rather confusing disability claims process and disability appeals process.   Indianapolis disability attorneys may also assist the claimant with resolving any problems that arise with the SSDI or SSI claims and benefits. You’re disabled and unable to work because of this disability and you have applied for Social Security disability benefits, but find out that you have been denied.  You want to appeal this decision made by the SSA, but think that it would be helpful to hire a disability lawyer to represent you in this claim.  Many Indiana Social Security disability applicants are unaware that they have a right to representation in their Social Security disability claim.  Although it is not required to hire a disability attorney, you may find it to be beneficial to have representation for your disability appeal. How do I find an Indiana Social Security disability lawyer?  Indianapolis disability claimants may find themselves struggling with where and how they will ever find a disability attorney that may be able to properly represent them in their disability case.  Disability claimants will find that there are multiple ways to find themselves the representation that they desire.  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis advertises his services in a variety of ways to serve Indiana residents, such as: Television Commercials Internet Telephone Book Billboard Referrals Mr. Lewis’s goal is to be accessible to disability claimants when they need it.  Some disability … Continued

Filed under: Social Security Disability Attorney || Tagged under:
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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

Filed under: Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments || Tagged under:
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January 28, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis Speaks About The Appeals Council

Indiana Social Security appeals lawyer Scott Lewis at times receives telephone calls from Indiana residents after their claim has been denied by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) asking what can they do next. Mr. Lewis advises his clients after they find themselves with an unfavorable decision from an ALJ they can appeal that decision to the appeals council. Again, like previous appeals in the process an individual has 60 days plus some mailing time to appeal the unfavorable decision in writing. When you send your appeal to the appeals council what can happen next?  There are essentially three different paths your appeal can take: The Appeals Council can deny your request.  This type of denial is usually because the Appeals Council believes the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made a correct decision. The Appeals Council can decide the case itself.  In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ opinion, this usually happens when the evidence is very clear you are disabled and entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The Appeals Council can remand or return the case to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for further action.  Upon remand the ALJ can do a number of things including, but not limited to,  asking for additional medical documentation to support your claim or decide your case favorable without any further action. If you are denied once again at The Appeals Council level there may be further relief available.  You may appeal the decision to a federal district court. Indianapolis residents can find the claims process frustrating and confusing.  Many Indiana Social Security disability claimants do not know they have a right to representation when appealing a denied Social Security disability claim.  Many times, these same Indiana residents are surprised to find out that Mr. Lewis’ fee agreement is contingent, meaning there is no fee unless they … Continued

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January 14, 2011

How Does a Social Security Disability Claimant Prepare for a Hearing?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis provides a free consultation to Indiana residents seeking disability benefits. During these consultations, he often finds himself explaining the claims process to the disability claimant. Many individuals are concerned with how they can best be prepared for their upcoming Social Security disability hearing. Mr. Lewis always tries to take the time to explain to his clients how they, as the claimant, can be best prepared for their day in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants who have been denied at the initial level and reconsideration level of the application process must request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  many sources indicate, although it is not required, statistically claimants with representation, such as a Social Security disability lawyer or a representative, have a better success rate with winning their disability claim.  Once the claimant obtains his/her disability attorney, it’s important that the claimant keep the attorney informed.  At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his team strive to review the claimant’s file to make sure his/her medical records within the file are current.  If the law office contacts you to complete paperwork pertaining to your medical records, it is the claimant’s responsibility to complete the appropriate paperwork immediately and return it to the law office.  If the claimant does not complete the paperwork in a timely manner, it may delay medical evidence being submitted to the claimant’s record.  Medical evidence is translated by your disability attorney to determine your work limitations, and at times medical professionals list these limitations in the medical records.  It is important that while in the waiting period that claimants should continue to see their medical physicians.  When visiting the doctor(s), report your symptoms … Continued

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January 3, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott Lewis Discusses Why Your Age Matters When it Comes To Social Security Disability Benefits

Indiana residents may not all agree getting older is a good thing.  Lets face it, as we age it seems to be a bit harder to bounce back from physical problems we encounter.  As we age, we may also find it more difficult to find employment.  Believe it or not, the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes it may be more difficult for older individuals to find suitable employment.  Now, don’t be misled that the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t look at various other factors when determining if your disability prevents you from working, but age is one very important factor they examine. Age is just one of the factors considered in what is known as “the grid”.  This is a table composed of various factors to help the SSA determine if your disability meets the requirements necessary to “grid out”, or be granted Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Other factors include education, the skill level of past employment, and whether you are able to do sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work.  The age criteria is broken down into four categories: 18 – 44 years old considered young individuals 45 – 49 years old considered younger individuals 50 -54  years old considered approaching advanced age 55 years of age and older considered advanced age While all of the above may seem difficult to understand, the simple truth is that those individuals over 50 years of age usually benefit from the grid scenario much more than those individuals younger than 50 years of age. Those individuals over 50 years of age with unskilled work experience that is not transferable combined with a limitation of sedentary work often find themselves on the favorable end of a Social Security disability decision.  With that being said, your disabling condition is still … Continued

Filed under: Residual Functional Capacity || Tagged under:
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December 30, 2010

Social Security Disability Claims Continue To Grow

Recent reports indicate a rise in the amount of individuals filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This could be due to many factors including the rise in unemployment and even the ease of applying for disability benefits online may be a culprit. Whatever the reason, Indiana Social Security disability claimants are not immune to the ramifications of a rising number of disability applications. Indianapolis Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis fears this rise may result in even longer processing times of applications and create an even more burdensome backlog of individuals waiting on an Indiana Social Security disability hearing. Sources show that Social Security disability applications have increased by 21 percent recently and in Indianapolis Disability Attorney Scott Lewis’ experience Indiana has been no exception. Mr. Lewis has noticed an increase in the amount of interest shown in individuals asking if they may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.  While the requirements of being entitled to Indiana Social Security benefits may appear straightforward, there are many variables that can enter into the equation.  For instance, many of these Indiana residents applying for Social Security disability benefits are receiving unemployment benefits.  While this should not be an absolute bar to receiving Social Security disability benefits, some Administrative Law Judges look on the payments of unemployment as a factor in turning down an otherwise valid Social Security disability claim. What does all of this mean to a disabled Indiana resident?  It may mean a longer waiting period for your claim to be processed.  It should not discourage you or a family member from applying for Social Security disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Just because there are more people applying for disability benefits does not mean they are more difficult to obtain.  As always, … Continued

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December 21, 2010

How Do Resources Affect My Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim?

Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott D. Lewis usually advises his clients to apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when filing their initial application.  Mr. Lewis believes it is important to apply for both programs because if you are not eligible for one program the other program may be right for you.  Indiana disability claimants should be aware; however, the criteria is different for the two programs.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program will look at an individual’s resources to determine if they qualify financially and how much their monthly benefit might be. Why does the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program care about your resources?  Resources are just one of the factors to figure out whether you are eligible for the benefits.  Indiana disability claimants need to know there is a limit for countable resources.  At the current time it is $2,000 for an individual and is $3,000 for a couple.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis lets his clients know they will be asked various questions about their resources by the Indiana Social Security Administration (SSA). What does the Social Security Administration (SSA) consider resources?  This is not limited to, but can include things like: life insurance land personal property cash items that can be changed to cash for food and shelter vehicles There is also something called “deemed” resources. This can be some of the resources of a spouse, parent’s spouse, and parent, just to name a few. If you find you have not worked long enough to be awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program may be the right fit for you.  If you have questions concerning your Indiana Social Security benefits call Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free case evaluation.  You can protect … Continued

Filed under: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) || Tagged under:
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December 16, 2010

Your Social Security Disability Claim and Acceptable Medical Testing

Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds on occasion his clients have a diagnosis without appropriate medical testing to back it up. At times, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will look through your medical record and remark that while it has volumes of records it is lacking appropriate medical testing. To put it in its simplest terms, you may complain of a broken leg, but without an X-ray you may have a difficult time convincing anyone there is actually a fracture.  Some common tests Indiana Social Security attorney Scott D. Lewis finds absent in a disability claimant’s medical file can include but are not limited to those claiming: Fibromyalgia With this diagnosis, Mr. Lewis has found Administrative Law Judge’s often have a hard time getting their hands around this condition without appropriate testing.  Because currently there is no X-ray or lab testing for the diagnosis of Fibromiyalgia, many times tender points throughout the body are used to determine a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  A diagnosis of Fibromyalgia may be made when a patient is positive in 11 of 18 of these tender points.  Does this mean you will qualify for Indiana Social Security disability benefits?  Not always, as some Administrative Law Judges are still skeptical as to this diagnosis. Various Breathing Disorders  Pulmonary functioning tests may be beneficial to a claim for a breathing disorder.  A few of these tests can include spirometry and methocholine challenge.  If you suffer from COPD, emphysema, asthma, or any other pulmonary condition you should consult your physician for appropriate testing. Impairments of the Spine  Those Indiana Social Security disability claimants finding they are experiencing a disabling condition due to neck and/or back problems should seek appropriate medical testing such as an MRI.  In Indiana Social Security attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, a MRI can be crucial in … Continued

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December 14, 2010

2011 Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) for Social Security Disability Benefits Recipients

As with all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients, Indiana disability benefits recipients are not going to see an increase in their monthly disability payment in 2011. On October 15th, 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that there would be no Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) for 2011. This is the second year in a row that there was not an increase to SSDI, SSI or Social Security retirement benefit payments.  Over 50 million Americans receive some form of Social Security benefit. What are Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA)? COLA is an automatic adjustment to the SSDI or SSI recipient’s monthly benefits that may occur each year. The COLA increase is based on the percentage increase from year to year of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Worker (CPI-W) during the third quarter of the year.  This percentage increase of COLA is strictly based on the CPI-W increase so, when there is not an increase in the CPI-W then there is no increase in COLA.  CPI-W increases are determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor.  The purpose of the COLA increase is so the purchasing power of SSDI or SSI benefits keep in pace with consumer prices and that benefits are not eroded by inflation. Why isn’t there a COLA increase in 2011?  As in 2010, because there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of the previous year to the third quarter of the current year. Therefore, SSDI and SSI payments will remain the same in 2011.  In the last two years, overall inflation has been low, largely because of the economic downturn.  It has been predicted by the Congressional Budget Office that inflation will remain low for the next several years.  As a result, this may mean that Social Security recipients may not see a COLA increase for … Continued

Filed under: News, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) || Tagged under:
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December 13, 2010

Does The Social Security Administration Offers A “Short Term” Disability Benefit

You may be surprised how often this question gets asked to Indiana Disability Attorney Scott Lewis.  At times, Indiana residents find themselves unable to work due to a disabling condition, but anticipate returning to the workforce.  These short term disabling conditions may be due to the result of an auto accident, a surgery, or any other condition where you find yourself unable to work because of a physical or mental impairment.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis even receives telephone calls asking if a normal pregnancy can be a disabling condition.  To answer the question of whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a short term disability program, one must determine how short is short? The Social Security Administration has a condition that must be met that is called the “durational requirement.”  With this requirement, your disabling condition (either physical or mental) must have actually lasted for twelve (12) months or be expected to last for twelve (12) months.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds one way the Social Security Administration can turn down many claims is by stating your mental or physical disabling condition is not expected to last twelve (12) months.  Due to the fact that many medical conditions can be very difficult to determine how long they will last, it may be in your best interest to appeal an unfavorable decision if denied for this reason. Let’s say you are denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because the Social Security Administration states you do not meet the durational requirement and you decide not to appeal that decision. Now you find your disabling condition does not improve and you are still unable to work.  In this scenario, you may be past the time limit to appeal your claim. Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis usually advises his … Continued

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