June 27, 2011

Knee Replacement and Social Security Disability Benefits

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney helping individuals throughout the state of Indiana in obtaining their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  In disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience individuals who have had a knee replacement can win a disability claim depending on the specific facts in their claim.  This blog is designed to discuss some of those issues involved in a knee replacement claim. First it is important to note the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize this disability in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 1.02 Major Dysfunction of Joint(s).  At times Indiana disability claimants are found disabled by either meeting or equaling this listing due to severe knee impairments.  Although, in Mr. Lewis’ experience more individuals are found disabled by another analysis when it comes to individuals who have underwent knee replacement. If you do not equal or meet a listing, your physical residual functional capacity may be so diminished that you are unable to work.  In other words, your inability to sit, stand, and/or walk for any length of time may render you unable to perform substantial gainful activity.  Also, the pain you experience may make you unable to concentrate or stay on task.  Many individuals with severe knee problems and/or knee replacements may find themselves in constant pain  whether sitting or standing. The need for the use of a cane while at the workstation may also exclude many occupations.  Individuals who need a cane while performing a standing job or a job with a sit/stand option may be considered a one-armed worker and unable to perform that type of work.  Some individuals with knee and leg issues that create swelling must periodically elevate their legs to waist level to reduce swelling while at a seated job.  This … Continued

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June 25, 2011

Indianapolis Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis Discusses Panic Attacks

Individuals suffering from panic attacks may find it difficult if not impossible to hold down steady full time employment.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has represented many individuals with this disabling condition and understands the impact it can have on even simple activities of daily living.  Many individuals suffering from panic attacks may experience an intense sudden fear that may bring with it physical reactions.  The sometimes unpredictable nature of panic attacks can create an environment where some individuals are afraid to leave their homes. The symptoms of panic attacks may vary among individuals, but some common symptoms may include: Nausea Shortness of breath Racing heart Dizziness Chest pains Weakness The Social Security Administration does recognize panic attacks in its listing for Anxiety related disorders.  If an individual does not precisely meet this listing there may be other ways to win your Social Security disability claim.  Individuals should also be aware of the fact the Social Security Administration will consider all of your disabling conditions in combination to determine if you are unable to work and are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you have questions regarding Social Security disability benefits contact Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis for a free consultation.  Mr. Lewis handles a wide variety of claims including depression, bipolar disorder, back problems, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease among other conditions.

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June 22, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Aspergers Syndrome

Indiana disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis has helped individuals win Social Security disability claims involving Aspergers Syndrome when they found themselves initially denied.  Many Indiana residents and their families are shocked when they find themselves with a notice of denial when they know this type of impairment can create a huge impact in some areas of functioning. Most of the individuals Mr. Lewis sees with Aspergers Syndrome are children and while there are many symptoms associated with Aspergers Syndrome some of the more common symptoms include: Difficulties with social interaction Repetitive behaviors and problems accepting changes in routines Hypersensitivity to textures, tastes, and sounds. Avoidance eye contact Extreme focus on one area of interest The above symptoms may vary from individual to individual and can have varying degrees of severity.  It is important to note,  an individual trained in the appropriate medical field can usually better assist in deciding what symptoms are generally attributed to Aspergers Syndrome. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has talked with families who have an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome and understands the effects it may have on academic performance, social interaction, and the ability to perform work like activity.  It is important to remember the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize Aspergers Syndrome as a disabling condition.  It may be necessary to appeal your denied Indiana Social security disability claim in order to get the benefits granted that you deserve.

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June 18, 2011

The Reconsideration Stage of the Social Security Disability Claims Process

At the Indiana law office of social security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his staff often find themselves explaining the different stages of the disability claims process to those individuals seeking disability benefits. Individuals that have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits often find themselves receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). When the SSA notifies the disability claimant that their initial application was denied, it is up to the applicant to continue the disability claims process by appealing the denial. Within sixty (60) days, plus five (5) days for mailing time, the disability applicant must file the appeal with the SSA.  This stage of the claims process is called the “Request for Reconsideration” stage.  This request is simply asking the SSA to reconsider your disability claim. Once this “Request for Reconsideration” is submitted by the Indiana disability applicant, the request for reconsideration goes back to the same state agency who denied the claim the first time, but a different examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) of the SSA reviews both the initial application and the “Request for Reconsideration”.  Once the disability examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) makes the reconsideration determination, the applicant will be informed by mail.  Unfortunately, statistically about 80% of the time the reconsideration decision is the same as the initial decision resulting in another denial. However, statistically about 20% of the time a claimant wins at the reconsideration level.  In most states, in Indiana, if you want to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits, you must go through the reconsideration appeals process. There is no way to avoid it. In a few states, the Social Security Administration has abolished reconsideration and you can file an immediate request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The denial notice from Social Security … Continued

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June 10, 2011

What Factors Can Impact Me Winning My Social Security Disability Claim?

While there are many factors that may have an influence on your chances of receiving a favorable outcome in your Indiana Social Security disability claim, Indianapolis disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis finds a few factors always seem to stand out.  By no means are these the only areas you should be concerned with, but in Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience they usually play an important role in your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. The Social Security disability claimant’s medical records.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis strives to emphasize to his clients that the majority of successful Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims have a well documented medical record history.  If you believe the Social Security Administration (SSA) is going to just take your word on your disabling condition, you may be in for a big surprise when you receive your decision in the mail. How credible the disability claimant is.  In other words, are you telling the truth?  You can probably guess that the Social Security Administration has seen its share of individuals stretching the truth when it comes to how disabling their condition really is.  Indiana disability benefits attorney Scott Lewis attempts to tell all of his clients it is important to be truthful.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, in general, if the SSA or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) believes you are not being truthful about one thing, chances are they may not believe you on other aspects of your disability claim. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that is assigned to the disability claim.  This is a big one!  The amount of claims each individual judge approves varies and each ALJ’s approval rating is all over the board.  Some statistics state the average approval rating at the hearing level is … Continued

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June 6, 2011

Medications and your Social Security Disability Claim

Indiana Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants with their disability claim.  Often times, he will get asked by his disability clients if it is important for them to continue to take their medications prescribed by their treating physicians.  When Mr. Lewis discusses the claimant’s case, during the free consultation offered at his law office, he often shares with them the importance to continue to visit their treating physicians and the importance of the claimant to comply with the treating physician’s orders, including medications. As disability lawyer Scott Lewis explains the disability evaluation process to his potential clients, he also explains the importance of medical records and medication history.  When submitting records in support of the claimant’s disability claim, Mr. Lewis and his staff will  attempt to submit all medications prescribed by the client’s treating physician.  Many times, claimants will experience side effects with their medications.  These side effects may contribute to the claimant’s inability to work.  Side effects of some pain medications or other medications may include, but are not limited to: fatigue drowsiness nausea breathing impairment mental fogginess gastrointestinal effects decrease in reaction time These side effects may impact the claimant’s ability to engage in normal daily activities or one’s ability to persist in a work environment. Scott Lewis believes that if a disability claimant does not comply with their treating physician’s medication orders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny their disability claim.   In Mr. Lewis’ experience, it may be in the claimant’s best interest to take the medications that have been prescribed by their treating physician and take prescribed medication as instructed. The SSA will determine the severity of the disability and their ability to function while the claimant is medicated.  If the disability claimant fails to comply with their medication orders, the SSA may not be able to … Continued

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May 31, 2011

Can I Represent Myself at My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing?

Most Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants initiate the disability claims process by filing their initial application for benefits on their own or with assistance from a family member or friend. Unfortunately, some statistics report that nearly 80% of disability claims are denied at the initial application level. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer, Scott D. Lewis, has experience in the disability appeals process.  Mr. Lewis offers a free consultation to those individuals that are unable to work due to a disabling condition or a combination of disabling conditions. Once the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your disability claim, you may want to contact a qualified Social Security disability lawyer or representative to discuss your Indiana disability benefits claim.  Although optional, Mr. Lewis recommends having legal representation at your disability hearing.  An experienced disability attorney or representative can be trained in presenting and arguing disability cases in front an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and may be trained in questioning the vocational expert or medical expert that may potentially be at your hearing.  Indiana disability claimants may argue their own case in front of an ALJ, but some statistics show that disability claims that are argued by a disability attorney or representative are more likely to win. Once Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis and his staff receive a copy of the claimant’s Social Security file, he and his staff carefully review it. Reviewing the file will inform him what the disability examiners at the initial and reconsideration levels looked at when the claim was denied at those levels. This also gives Mr. Lewis an idea of how strongly or not your own treating doctors support your case. Additionally, reviewing your file allows Mr. Lewis and his staff to identify whether or not certain evidence from some of your medical sources was simply not gathered. Many times, Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds an … Continued

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May 27, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyers Can Assist in Disability Claims Involving Chari Malformation

Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis has on more than one occasion talked with individuals who are suffering from Arnold-Chari Malformation.  While the definition of what is commonly called a “Chari Malformation” can be long and perhaps confusing due to complex medical terms in simple terms it is a defect in the cerebellum that it is located below a particular location.  Chari Malformation may occur during the fetal period and be present at birth or it may occur as an adult. Symptoms from Chari Malformation may vary from individual to individual in severity.  Some of the common symptoms may include but are not limited to: Speech problems Vision problems Gait difficulties Numbness and/or tingling Dizziness Neck pain When attempting to receive Social Security disability benefits for Chari Malformation or any other disabling condition it is usually very important to have detailed medial records.  In Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, appropriate testing for the diagnosis of a disorder may be the key in persuading the Social Security Administration (SSA) or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to decide in your favor. Many individuals may not suffer from any symptoms from Chari Malformation, but if your symptoms prevent you from working you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis has represented individuals with Chari-Malformation and helped them receive the Social Security disability benefits they deserve.

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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, 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 18, 2011

Will my age be a factor in my Social Security Disability Claim?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents a variety of Indiana claimants applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  His clients vary in age ranging from youths to adults in their early 60s.  Many times he discusses with clients the effects their age may have on their SSDI or SSI claim.  Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not specifically deny disabled individuals for reasons of age, it is Scott Lewis’ opinion that age can be a relevant factor in determining disability. How does my age affect my ability to obtain SSDI or SSI disability benefits?  A Social Security disability claimant’s age is certainly considered when applying for disability benefits.  One way the claimant’s age may be a deciding factor is that in order to receive SSDI benefits, a person must have earned enough work credits to qualify for this disability program.  Therefore, if a disabled claimant is 21 years old and has not worked long enough to earn enough work credits to qualify for the SSDI program, he/she will not be awarded SSDI benefits.  In summary, a younger adult is unable to fulfill the work credit requirements due to a lack of years in the workforce. Although these individuals are unable to qualify for the SSDI program, these individuals may qualify for the SSI program which does not require the earned work credits. In Attorney Scott Lewis’ opinion, as disability claimants reach their 50s, they are more likely to have their disability claim approved by the SSA.  The SSA believes that as people age, their ability to transition into new employment areas diminishes. Older claimants become less adaptable and less able to switch to a different job in order to cope with health problems. For example, a person disabled due to a foot injury may cause a younger … Continued

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