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April 4, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott Lewis Thoughts On Seizures

Social Security disability claimants experiencing seizures often find themselves denied their disability benefits during the claims process.  While most Americans may think a person suffering from seizures would be a sure thing in obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, the Social Security Administration many times has a different opinion. Indiana residents suffering from seizures due to epilepsy or other causes are usually surprised to find at times it can be difficult to prove their claim is valid.  Seizures can be unpredictable and many times the only medical evidence contained in a Social Security disability claimant’s file is self reporting documentation.  Many times, the seizure is over by the time an individual is seen by a medical professional.  Other issues can include the severity and type of seizure the individual has experienced. Obviously, the intensity and severity of a seizure can vary from person to person.  Some individuals may experience convulsive seizures while others experience non-convulsive seizures.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) will probably be interested in knowing the duration and the cause of the seizures.  Another major aspect of a disability claim for a seizure disorder is the after effects of a seizure.  Many individuals suffering from a seizure disorder report memory problems, and extreme fatigue following a seizure. The need to recuperate after a seizure for a lengthy period of time may prohibit an individual from maintaining full time employment. Indiana Social Security disability claimants not complying with taking prescribed medication to reduce or eliminate seizures may also jeopardize their chances of winning their Indiana Social Security disability claim.  In most cases, if medication eliminates the disabling condition you are experiencing then you will be found not disabled by the Social Security Administration.  Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis encourages his clients to adhere to … Continued

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March 29, 2011

I Can’t Stand For Very Long, Can I Get Social Security Disability?

Indianapolis disability appeals attorney Scott Lewis talks to many individuals who are experiencing pain when performing jobs that require them to stand for either short or long periods of time.  There can be a variety of reasons contributing to the inability to stand, but the common theme is usually that the pain is so unbearable that the individual is forced to either sit down or lay down to alleviate it. How does the Social Security Administration look at your inability to stand when you are attempting to receive Indiana Social Security disability benefits?  Although there are many scenarios in which standing is an issue such as light, medium, and heavy work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may decide your inability to stand leaves you with what is termed “sedentary” occupations.  In other words a “sit down” job.  Many individuals who have found themselves reduced to sedentary jobs have no previous work experience with sedentary employment.  For example, a construction worker who suffers from a severe impairment creating the inability to stand for any length of time is usually shocked when he/she finds the Social Security Administration believes they can perform a desk job or other employment he/she has never done before.  Believe it or not, vocational experts (job experts) may testify at an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing that sedentary jobs can include packers, assemblers, surveillance system monitors and various other occupations. Does that mean you will lose your Social Security disability claim if you cannot stand to perform work?  Not always.  Various other factors come into play that may help you in winning your claim.  What if the pain you experience while standing also continues when you are sitting?  Continuous severe pain while sitting and standing may be enough to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Your age, … Continued

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March 28, 2011

What is the Social Security Administration’s Medical Listing of Impairments?

Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis practices Social Security disability law throughout the state of Indiana. He represents disability claimants with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Most individuals who apply for SSDI or SSI benefits have no idea what disability criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to determine if they are disabled. The SSA determines if an individual is disabled according to the rules and regulations governing Social Security disability and use a “Listing of Impairments” also known as the “blue book” to determine if an individual will meet or exceed the SSA’s definition of disability. What is the Social Security Administration’s Medical “Listing of Impairments”?  This medical listing referred to as the blue book is a list of impairments that Congress has defined to be disabling. This disability handbook contains fourteen (14) major body system sections that address a list of Social Security disability impairments considered to be severe enough to prevent an individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The major body systems addressed within the blue book are as follows: Musculoskeletal System, Special Senses and Speech, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Genitourinary Impairments, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Endocrine System, Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems, Neurological, Mental Disorders, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, and Immune System Disorders. Within each of the above listings, Social Security defines the criteria needed to meet the listing in which disability is defined.  Indiana disability claimants may wonder what impairments they will find in the Social Security List of Impairments.  The “Listing of Impairments” contains a list of disabling conditions for each major body system.  For example, if you are disabled due to a spinal disorder, you must meet the criteria set forth in the section of the listing dealing with Musculoskeletal System.  In Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, … Continued

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March 19, 2011

Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal and Cerebral Palsy

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis disability lawyer who sees a variety of disabling conditions and cerebral palsy is no exception.  It is not uncommon for potential clients to call his office and ask how severe their disabling condition must be in order to be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When should you inquire about your Indiana Social Security disability benefits for cerebral palsy or any other disabling condition?  In most cases, it is when your condition prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity.  In other words, apply for disability benefits when you find yourself unable to take care of yourself and/or your family due to a disabling condition or combination of disabling conditions. Cerebral palsy is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disabling condition if it meets certain criteria.  To start with an Indiana disability claimant may want to turn to the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments”.  This publication outlines various disabling conditions the SSA will consider in making a favorable or unfavorable decision when deciding if your condition meets or equals certain standards.  The Social Security Administration evaluates cerebral palsy under section11.00 Neurological Impairments and more specifically 11.07 for cerebral palsy. Examining the criteria needed to qualify for this impairment while at the same time taking a close look at your treating physician’s medical records may help you determine if you do indeed meet or equal the criteria needed to be determined disabled. Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis often sends a list of questions to his Indiana disability claimant’s physician(s) in hopes they may complete these forms in such a way it verifies that his client meets the listing making it easier for the Social Security Administration to find you disabled. What … Continued

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March 10, 2011

Social Security’s Electronic Folder and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

With all of the increasing technology we experience on an everyday basis, it should be no surprise for Indiana disability claimants to find out their Social Security disability claim file is loaded onto a compact disc (CD) for viewing purposes. In an attempt to go paperless the Social Security Administration (SSA) has turned to having all of your disability development scanned and turned into space saving technology.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes this transition is not only easier for viewing purposes, but has cut down on unnecessary file storage for the Social Security Administration and also Indiana Social Security disability representatives. Indiana Social Security disability appeals claimants may wonder what exactly is contained in their electronic Social Security disability claim folder.  The items in your Social Security disability claim folder are referred to as exhibits.  There are different sections of the folder and they may include: Payment documents/decisions Jurisdictional documents/notices Non disability development Disability development Medical records If you are currently waiting on an Indiana Social Security disability hearing and the Social Security Administration has mailed you a compact disc with your Social Security disability file on it you will want to take a good look at it to ensure your file is complete.  While some of the sections may be difficult to understand, the medical records section should be closely examined to ensure all of your physician(s) records are present and up to date.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis strives to ensure his clients electronic file is complete and all necessary documents have been submitted to the Indiana offices of the Social Security Administration. If you show up at your Indiana Social Security disability hearing and your file is not complete, some Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) will allow you additional time to submit missing documentation; however, there is no guarantee an … Continued

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March 5, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Lawyers Like Scott Lewis Offer A Contingent Fee Agreement

If you are an Indiana disability claimant trying to make ends meet while struggling through the Social Security disability process, chances are you do not have the extra money to pay for up front attorney’s fees.  At times, individuals entering the Office of Disability, Adjudication and Review (ODAR) or commonly known as the hearing office make statements that they do not have an attorney with them because they cannot afford an attorney.  These individuals are unaware that Indiana disability lawyers like Scott D. Lewis represent Indiana disability appeal claimants on a contingency basis. What is a contingent fee agreement?  In the case of Indiana Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis, it means you will pay no up front costs and you will only pay a fee if Mr. Lewis wins your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.  The fee agreement is based on Mr. Lewis being paid on a percentage of your past due lump sum amount and cannot exceed a certain monetary figure set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  On the other hand, if Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis is unsuccessful in winning your Social Security disability claim, there is no percentage paid, no maximum amount, and therefore no fee for his legal services. If disability attorney Scott Lewis wins your claim, the Social Security Administration generally takes his fee directly out of your past due lump sum that you are owed by the Social Security Administration.  Why would the Social Security Administration owe you a past due amount?  The Indiana Social Security disability appeals process can be very lengthy.  By the time you are awarded Social Security disability benefits, you may have accumulated money that you are due considering the date you first became disabled or in some cases your date … Continued

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February 26, 2011

The Third Party Function Report and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Scott D. Lewis often hears from his Indiana Social Security disability clients and their families that they are confused by the paperwork they receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The forms are usually requesting information in applying for and appealing their Indiana Social Security disability claim.  One of these forms is called the “Function Report – Adult – Third Party”.  It is also known as form SSA – 3380 – BK.  Now with that mouthful out, are you afraid to pick up your pen and start the application and appeals process?  Well, Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis advises his clients and their families to not be intimidated in completing forms required by the Social Security Administration.  Most of these forms Mr. Lewis’ office can assist in completing or guide you, family, or friends through in completing the forms if you wish to complete them for yourself. The Third Party Function Report has various parts and these include: General Information that includes names, relationship to the disabled person, contact information, and other data. Information about daily activities including how a typical day is, whether the disabled person can care for themselves on a personal level, preparation of meals, house & yard work, mobility, shopping, money management, hobbies, and social activities. Information about their physical and mental abilities of the disabled person. Finally, a remarks section. Indiana disability attorney Scott D. Lewis tells these third parties that complete this form to be as thorough as possible.  It is important to be truthful and remember their is a reason this form is being asked to be completed.  It is to determine if the Indiana disability claimant has a disabling condition that is severe enough to prevent them from securing and maintaining substantial gainful activity.  In other words, if the Social Security Administration believes you are able to … Continued

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February 25, 2011

Appointment Of Representative Forms For Your Disability Claim

Some individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may decide they need representation to help navigate what can be a confusing disability process.  In order for Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis to represent you in your disability claim and be recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA), he must have an Appointment of Representative Form (Form SSA 1696) completed and submitted to the SSA. The Appointment of Representative form is a fairly easy form to complete, but at the same time is a vital piece of paperwork to ensure representation in your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  The main parts of SSA form 1696 include: Claimant information including name and Social Security number. The authorization to appoint the representative which includes the type of claim, release of information, and whether you have more than one representative.  A signature, address, telephone number, and date are also needed by the claimant. The acceptance of appointment is then completed which contains information about the lawyer or representative involved with the claim. The two final sections concern waiver of the fee and waiver of direct payment. When Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis is hired to represent a disabled claimant, he tries to get this form into the Social Security Administration early so he has access to the disability claimant’s information.  Without the submission of the Appointment of Representative form, the Social Security Administration will not release any information or speak with Mr. Lewis about the Indiana disability claimant’s appeal. Many Indiana disability claimants do not know they have a right to be represented in their Social Security disability claim.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis offers a free consultation and his fee agreement is contingent on a favorable outcome in your case.  In other words, plain … Continued

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February 20, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Doctors Not Supporting Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal

Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis has seen doctors that will go to great lengths (usually short of going to your hearing of course) and doctors who refuse to help at all, and everything in between.  So what can you do when your treating physician will not support you in your Indiana Social Security disability appeal? It probably depends on why they will not support you.  There can be a variety of reasons why your doctor won’t support your disability claim.  Perhaps you simply do not get along with your doctor, or your doctor does not believe your disability prevents you from working, or finally maybe your doctor says he/she will help you, but will not assist you with your disability claim when push comes to shove.  In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, a cooperative treating physician can have a huge impact on you receiving a favorable outcome in your Social Security disability claim. So what can you do when your physician is not willing to help you?  It may depend on your health care coverage.  You may be limited on who you can see pursuant to your medical coverage.  It may help you to discuss your concerns with your treating physician.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis encourages his clients to try and have a good relationship with their doctor(s).  It is important to remember that physicians are people too and have likes and dislikes like all of us, and it makes sense if they like you they may be willing to go that extra mile for you in helping to establish your disability and your inability to hold down a full time job. Some Indiana disability claimants have the option of switching physicians when they are unhappy with their treating physician.  One of the problems Indianapolis disability attorney Scott … Continued

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February 18, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Degenerative Disc Disease

In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, one of the most common disabling conditions his clients share is problems with their backs and necks. Disabling conditions in this area can include, but are not limited to scoliosis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. These conditions can cause severe chronic pain that may make it unbearable to maintain full or part time employment. One of the most common types of back pain is due to degenerative disc disease.  As we age, it is not uncommon for this condition to occur.  Causes of degenerative disc disease may include outer layer tears in the disc and fluid loss in the disc.  Depending on the location of the disc or discs affected usually dictates where a person feels the pain. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes degenerative disc disease in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 1.04 Disorders of the Spine.  It is important for Indiana disability appeals claimants to note that they do not have to meet or equal this listing in order to receive Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Securit Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Administration may also consider an individual’s physical residual functional capacity.  Physical residual functional capacity refers to the limitations you may have considering items such as your inability to stand, sit, walk, and lift causing you to be unable to maintain employment.  The SSA may also consider the pain the claimant experiences when deciding if they are able to maintain employment. In Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, good medical records are key to winning your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  Imaging tests such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s) may be critical in winning your disability claim.  It is also important to let your treating physician know the … Continued

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