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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May 17, 2011

Meniere’s Disease and Some Views from Indiana Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis

Meniere’s disease is an ear disorder that may result in your inability to hold down a job and have a huge impact on your activities of daily living.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis has represented Indiana disability claimants with Meniere’s and understands how difficult this disease can make everyday life.  If you suffer from Meniere’s disease and you are unable to work because of symptoms that affect you in a severe manner, it may be time to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. While the symptoms of Meniere’s disease may vary, they may include: Episodes of dizziness and vertigo.  These episodes may result in nausea and may elevate the risk of falls.  The intensity and duration of these “attacks” may vary from individual to individual. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears can also be a symptom of Meniere’s disease.  While ringing in the ears is a common complaint, individuals with Meniere’s may also complain of other distracting sounds.  The ability to concentrate on work like activity while experiencing these distracting sounds can be greatly affected. A general loss of hearing. Some individuals with Meniere’s disease report hearing loss to varying degrees. One can only imagine with the above symptoms how difficult it can be to function in a work like activity or simply to carry out daily activities.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize Meniere’s disease in its “Listing of Impairments” under Listing 2.07 Disturbance of Labyrinthine-vestibular Function.  It is important for Indiana residents suffering from Meniere’s disease to examine this listing to determine if they meet or equal the criteria needed for disability.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis often crafts questionnaires and submits them to physicians with the hope that they will complete them to help support a claim of disability … Continued

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May 13, 2011

Parkinson’s Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits

Indiana individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be surprised to find they have been denied benefits when they have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis does see individuals with this disorder turned down throughout the disability process and it could be for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons can include, but are not limited to: The Social Security Administration (SSA) simply made an error in denying the claim.  Perhaps they were unable to obtain critical evidence documenting your disabling condition. In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, this scenario can be very common.  When Mr. Lewis prepares for a case, he strives to ensure all of these crucial medical findings are submitted to the Indiana Social Security Administration.  Also, Mr. Lewis attempts to get your physicians to fill out forms verifying how your disabling condition fits the Social Security Administration’s requirements. It could be that the SSA has determined your condition is not severe enough.  To meet the severity level for Parkinson’s disease (or known as Parkinsonian Syndrome) by the SSA you must meet or be equal to Listing 11.06 in its Listing of impairments. If your condition does not meet the above referenced listing, does your physical or mental residual functional capacity prevent you from working?  In other words, because of the Parkinson’s disease are you are limited in the areas of standing, walking, sitting, lifting, and concentrating among other areas preventing you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Other factors such as your age, education, and prior work experience may also be important factors in a finding of disability. Also, it should go without saying but it is important if you are able to work or exactly how much you are able to work.  The above … Continued

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May 11, 2011

Your Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and the Luck of the Draw

Feeling lucky?  Sometimes an Indiana disability appeal claimant will ask Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis if he/she can select a judge to hear their Social Security disability appeal.  His answer is “No, you pretty much get who you are assigned.”  What does that mean to you?  Indianapolis attorney Scott Lewis tries his best to prepare his clients to be ready for the judge that will hear their case.  If your Social Security disability attorney or representative has been in front of a certain judge before they will probably know better how to prepare you for your hearing. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Administrative Law Judges are people just like you and me.  While they are all trained to conduct the Social Security disability hearings in a particular fashion, many judges craft their own style of hearing.  In the Indianapolis Office or Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), there are a variety of personalities of judges and with an entire floor now devoted to video hearings with judges from various states it can make for a very wide viewpoint of how the disability hearing process should be conducted.  But, make no mistake, as an adult attempting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments the question is whether or not you can work. So your Indiana Social Security disability hearing is scheduled and you finally know who your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will be, so what is next?  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis attempts to let his clients know what type of questions their particular judge is most interested in, how detailed your answers should be, and in general the framework this judge will use in conducting the hearing. It is also important to understand the judge’s claim approval rating in which can vary greatly.  For example, some Administrative Law Judges … 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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May 6, 2011

Will I Win My Indiana Disability Appeal Hearing If I Cannot Read Or Write?

Scott Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney who gets asked many questions regarding what qualifies a person for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Every so often he speaks with a client who is unable to read or write and is struggling to find employment.  These individuals are sometimes surprised to learn the Social Security Administration (SSA) may believe there are numerous jobs in the economy that do not require a person to have the ability to read or write.  Does that mean you will be denied your Indiana Social Security disability benefits if you are unable to read and write?  Not always, there may be other factors that come into play when deciding if you are disabled. Many Indiana residents that are unable to read and write have had difficulties obtaining an education.  This can be due to a variety of factors including having learning disabilities.  If you have had standardized intelligence testing (commonly known as IQ testing) and if your scores fall below a certain number you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.  You may find the criteria for this can be different for children than adults.  For more information you can look to Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments” under listing 112.05 for children and listing 12.05 for adults. A Vocational Expert (also know as a Job Expert) may testify at an Indiana Social Security disability hearing that some individuals with a very low mental capacity may be unable to perform even simple routine repetitive tasks.  This could be due to the fact that they cannot remember simple directions and would need reminded of the work process too often by a supervisor to maintain employment. Also, if an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decides a person may need a job coach to … Continued

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May 4, 2011

Can My Kids Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

You may be surprised how often Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis gets asked the above question.  The truth is, there are specific guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) just for children.  The Social Security Administration does provide payments through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for disabled children. On many occasions, Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds himself discussing the “ins and outs” of the SSI program as it pertains to children with his potential and current clients.  One of the first hurdles many families may encounter when trying to obtain Indiana Social security disability benefits for their child is the question of income and resources.  If the child or a certain family member’s income and resources are above the limit set forth by the SSA, it may not matter how disabled the child is.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is what may be termed a “needs” based program.  In other words, if the SSA determines you don’t need it, you don’t get it.  So what happens if your child and family income and resources are below the limit?  At that point, the Social Security Administration will determine if your child has a qualifying disabling condition. When it comes to a child, what does the Social Security Administration consider a disabling condition?  Indiana residents may want to take a look at Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments.”  This is a guideline assembled to outline certain disabling conditions.  It should be noted there is a section that is focused solely on child disabilities.  If your child does not precisely meet one of these listings there are still other ways to win your Indiana Social Security disability appeal. In cases involving children, the Social Security Administration will look at several domains in determining if a child is disabled … Continued

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