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December 20, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis Comments on Possible New Hearing Policy

There have been some recent reports of a possible Office of Disability and Review (ODAR) policy regarding the non-disclosure of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presiding over your pending hearing until the date of the hearing.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis believes that this type of “blindfolding” attorneys and their clients can only make the disability process even more frustrating and slow. Why could this potentially be a problem?  Experienced Social Security disability attorneys like Scott Lewis represent individuals numerous times in front of the same Administrative Law Judge and become accustomed to exactly what that particular Judge is looking for at the hearing.  To help create and ensure judicial efficiency, Mr. Lewis attempts to prepare his cases in a manner for particular Judges that will cut right to the main issues that particular Judge may focus on.  While most of Mr. Lewis’ case files are prepared in a similar fashion, there are times that when Mr. Lewis knows a certain Judge has been assigned to a claim, Mr. Lewis focuses on certain documents he knows a Judge will closely analyze. Why is this happening?  The only reason put forth thus far is that attorneys are “shopping” Judges.  When a video hearing is scheduled, the representative or claimant has the ability to deny such a hearing and request to be in front of an Administrative Law Judge in person.  Without pointing fingers, one could argue while certain attorneys are shopping Judges, we must also consider why there is a particular item no one wants to buy.  It could be asserted that this is a two way street. In the end who gets hurt?  Mr. Lewis believes good prepared qualified attorneys and Judges and above all claimants will find this decision only muddies the waters on a long drawn out … Continued

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December 19, 2011

Asperger’s Syndrome And Filing An Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

Believe it or not even individuals suffering from severe Asperger’s Syndrome can find themselves denied their disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has experience with this type of claim, and often finds himself talking to families shaking their heads wondering why they have been denied.  Many valid initial claims are denied by the SSA, but the reality is that many of theses same claims are found favorable further in the appeals process. Asperger’s Syndrome can range widely in its severity.  While one individual may suffer from very mild symptoms another individual may be very severe.  Asperger’s Syndrome may be hard to detect in very young children, but many times symptoms are noticed as children enter kindergarten and start interacting with their peers.  The symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome may vary from individual to individual but some common symptoms can include but are not limited to: Problems with social interaction.  This usually includes the inability to identify social cues. Unusual facial expressions and may attempt to avoid eye contact. Heightened sensitivity to textures, tastes, sounds, and light. Repeating words in a formal manner, and also may talk excessively about one subject. Some individuals may find a change or routine very disturbing. In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience some individuals symptoms suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome may not be easily detected in a brief interaction.  It is usually very apparent after an individual spends some time with the person and then understands these symptoms are continuous.  When attempting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for Asperger’s Syndrome good medical records are generally the key to a favorable outcome.  A long standing relationship with a psychiatrist or therapist with a clear diagnosis supported by treatment records may … Continued

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December 14, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits For Children And The Indiana Appeals Process

Children suffering from a disabling condition may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits.  Many times, if income/resource restrictions are met the child can be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if the disabling condition is severe enough.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has found some Social Security disability attorneys in Indianapolis do not take on child disability claims.  This may be from a variety of reasons, but Mr. Lewis believes many of these cases can be won. While the underlying question of how severe the disability is can be similar to an adult disability case, the question of whether or not the individual can work is generally not an issue in a child Social Security disability claim.  Instead, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at six (6) different domains when determining a disabling condition for a child: Acquiring and using information. Attending and completing tasks. Interacting and relating with others. Moving about and manipulating objects. Caring for yourself. Health and physical well being. As you can see by these domains they address not only physical limitations, but mental limitations as well.  In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience it is very important to be able to provide medical records supporting the child’s disabling condition.  For instance, if your child suffers from a mental condition, a treating psychiatrist or therapist’s medical records may go a long way in proving a disability exists.  Also, if your child has problems at school an IEP or notes form a teacher detailing what special needs the child may require can also help document the presence of the disability. If you find your child is not performing at an age appropriate level and/or has a physical or mental disability that you believe should qualify him/her for disability payments contact Mr. Lewis for a … Continued

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December 8, 2011

Breast Cancer and Your Indiana Social Security Disbility Claim

Scott D. Lewis is an experienced Indiana Social Security disability lawyer who represents individuals with a wide variety of disabling conditions and cancer is no exception.  If you or someone you know is struggling or cannot work with a disabling condition such as cancer it may be in their best interest to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Individuals with advanced breast cancer or individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer may find it difficult to maintain employment.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes cancer in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases. Specifically Listing 13.10 outlines breast cancer and details what is needed for an individual to meet this listing.   It is important for individuals attempting to receive Social Security disability to not only get proper medical testing to support their claim, but also see qualified medical professionals to document the progression and prognosis of the cancer. When applying for Social Security disability it is important to remember there are not only medical qualifications that must be met, there are also financial and work related qualifications that may be crucial in a valid claim.  If you are frustrated by the disability process or simply have questions regarding the process you can contact Mr. Lewis for a free case evaluation.  Most questions can be answered over the phone and if you hire disability attorney Scott Lewis you pay nothing unless your claim is approved.  For your free consultation  contact Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis and his staff at (317) 423-8888,

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November 29, 2011

What Does Social Security Mean By My Physical Residual Functional Capacity?

If you left an Indianapolis Social Security Disability Appeals courtroom and heard the words “physical residual functional capacity” and didn’t understand what they were talking about, you may not be alone.  Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis can see why someone not familiar with the Social Security appeals process may not know why these terms are being used.  While the disability process may be confusing, at times it can also be predictable and some of the terms used at your hearing are usually used over and over at hearings to analyze disability claims. In cases where you are claiming a physical disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) usually tries to determine your residual functional capacity (RFC).  Your RFC in general terms is how much you can physically do despite the disabling condition you are experiencing.  Once it is determined what you RFC is the SSA will try to determine if you can return to your previous employment with the limitations you experience or if you cannot whether there are other occupations that exist in the economy that you can perform. Some of the things the Social Security Administration will look at when examining your RFC may include: How long you can sit, stand, and walk. How much you can lift and carry. Do you have postural limitations such as bending, squatting, or stooping? Do you have limitations on fine or gross manipulation with your hands? Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis may attempt to get a RFC assessment completed by his client’s treating physician if necessary.  A favorable RFC by a treating physician may or may not be given weight by an Administrative Law Judge.  Mr. Lewis has found some treating physicians will not complete these forms and leave their patients on their own when trying to receive … Continued

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November 28, 2011

Why Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent me in my Social Security Disability Claim?

Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis is an experienced disability lawyer who represents individuals with their Social Security disability appeal. Some common questions an individual who is seeking disability benefits have are: “Do I really have to hire a lawyer to represent me in my Social Security disability claim?” “Should I hire an attorney to handle my Social Security disability claim?” “Will it benefit me to have representation at my Social Security disability hearing?” “If I hire an attorney, will I be able to get my disability hearing faster?” “How will I be able to afford to pay an attorney to represent me with my disability appeal?” If you have been recently denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you probably just read the above questions and thought to yourself that you have been thinking about these exact same concerns.  Here are the answers you have been looking for! Do you really have to hire a lawyer to represent you in your Social Security disability claim?  Quite simply, no.  SSDI or SSI claimants are not required to have a Social Security disability attorney or representative represent them in their disability appeal.  Having representation is a client’s right.  If you attend your SSDI or SSI hearing alone, most Administrative Law Judges will ask the claimant if they would like to continue their claim so they can seek representation.  Again, this is a right, not a requirement. Should you hire an attorney or representative to handle your Social Security disability claim?  This is a personal preference.  Some individuals decide that they would like to handle their claim on their own.  Although, statistically, more disability claims are won among individuals that are represented by an attorney or representative than those individuals that are not represented at their Administrative Law … Continued

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November 23, 2011

Migraine Headaches and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal

Many individuals suffering from chronic migraine headaches find it difficult, if not impossible, to work and perform gainful activity.  Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds that many of his clients suffering from chronic migraine headaches have similar complaints.  These complaints can include, but are not limited to: The inability to focus or concentrate Sensitivity to light and sound Extreme pain Nausea Problems with vision Chills Fatigue Loss of appetite The Social Security Administration (SSA) can look at the symptoms you are experiencing due to severe migraine headaches in order to decide what limitations you may experience in the work setting.  If it is determined these limitations are severe enough to prevent you from performing a full day of work on a continuous basis you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Medical records can be the key to winning your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  In disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience records from a treating neurologist may greatly enhance your chances of winning your disability claim.  Appropriate testing and imaging combined with a good medical history documenting the severity of your migraine headaches may help your support the fact your are unable to work. If you have questions concerning your Social Security disability claim, you can contact Mr. Lewis by calling (317) 423-8888.  Mr. Lewis handles a wide variety of disabling conditions including migraine headaches, diabetes, depression, heart problems, and learning disabilities just to name a few.  Call now and receive your free case evaluation.

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November 21, 2011

Mental Disorders and Your Treating Physicians

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis talks to numerous clients about their mental condition(s) and finds that some of his clients may not be receiving the type of medical care they need in order to win their Social security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.  Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not put as much weight in all of the physicians you may be seeing because your medical professional may not specialize in a particular area. Mr. Lewis attempts to let all of his clients suffering from a mental condition that is preventing them from working to attempt to get appropriate medical treatment and that may be from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience a professional in the mental health field is usually more qualified to render a diagnosis that the Social Security Administration will recognize as legitimate when you are trying to get your benefits approved.  While your general practitioner may have a long history with you and may be very knowledgeable about your personal history, he/she may not possess the credentials needed to diagnose you with a mental disorder in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. It may be as simple as asking for a referral from your treating physician to get to a treating source the Social Security Administration will put stock in.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience many Administrative Law Judges like to see an ongoing therapist patient relationship documenting the progression of the mental illness.  There is usually no substitute for good medical records when stepping into the court room to address your Social Security disability appeal. Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis represents his Indiana neighbors with a wide variety of disabling conditions including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.  If you or someone you know … Continued

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November 9, 2011

Social Security Disability Attorneys In Indianapolis May Be Able To Give You A Good Idea Of Whether Or Not You Won Your Claim

When you leave your Social Security disability appeal hearing you may scratch your head and wonder what exactly just happened.  Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis, at times, can give his clients a pretty good idea of what just transpired in the hearing room.  Mr. Lewis represents hundreds of Indiana Social Security disability claimants each year and has found there can be some signs during a Social Security disability hearing that may indicate an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is leaning one way or another regarding the decision in your appeal.  There are a few factors that may help determine what the outcome will be. Who was your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)?  Administrative Law Judge approval percentages on Social Security disability claims can be all over the board.  Some Judges may approve a very small number of claims, while other Judges may approve a large percentage of the claims they preside over.  Indiana Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis has represented his Indiana neighbors in front of all of the current Administrative Law Judges in the Indianapolis ODAR office and usually has a pretty good idea how often they find individuals disabled.  Also, there are statistics put out by the Social Security Administration (SSA) showing the approval rates for Administrative Law Judges. What did the Medical Expert (ME) testify to at your hearing?  Medical experts are sometimes used at Social Security disability hearings.  These experts are supposed to analyze the medical records in your Social Security disability file to determine what your medical condition is, whether or not you meet one of Social Security’s Listing of Impairments, and what your limitations may be related to your mental or physical condition.  Some Administrative Law Judges do not use medical experts, but if they do, at times they can rely heavily on their testimony.  It … Continued

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November 7, 2011

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits in Indiana

An individual suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) experiences extreme fatigue.  This fatigue cannot be explained by any underlying medical condition. Although the fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, it does not always improve with rest. Individuals suffering with CFS do not know the cause of this disorder and there is no single test to diagnosis an individual with CFS.  Indiana disability claimants diagnosed with CFS may undergo several medical exams to rule out other health problems that have symptoms that are similar resulting in a diagnosis of CFS. Many disability claimants suffering with CFS may find it difficult to prove that they are unable to work due to this condition.  So, how does the Social Security Administration (SSA) approve a Social Security disability claim for individuals suffering with CFS?  According to the SSA’s website, when an individual with CFS applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the SSA must decide whether the individual is disabled under the law. The SSA base their decision on information provided by the claimant and other medical evidence. Under Social Security law, an individual may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits if he or she is: unable to do any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medical condition that has lasted or expected to last for at least 12 months, or that is expected to result in death; or if the individual is under the age or 18, the individual suffers from any medically determinable impairment (physical or mental) that results in marked and severe functional limitations. The disability claimant has a responsibility to provide the SSA proof that the condition exist, the level of severity, and duration of the impairment(s).   It is important to include a thorough medical history, and all clinical and laboratory findings from your treating physicians. In addition, provide the SSA with copies of laboratory results and results of any mental … Continued

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