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January 17, 2011

I Have Been Denied My Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits, Should I Reapply?

Indiana disability lawyers like Scott D. Lewis often get asked this question.  While the Social Security Administration (SSA) does require an individual to reapply for disability benefits in certain circumstances, it may not always be in the best interest of an Indiana disability claimant to reapply for their disability claim.  The below information may help you in determining what steps you should take next. Have you been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and don’t know what to do next?  Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis strives to help individuals answer that question.  During one of Mr. Lewis’s free consultations, he will typically ask the disability claimant if they have already applied for disability benefits and if they have been denied.  It’s important for him to know where the claimant is in the application process.  If the claimant has been denied at the initial application level, Attorney Lewis’ advice will depend on how long ago the claimant received their denial.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers the claimant an opportunity to appeal the denial within 60 days of receiving their denial letter and also allows for mailing time.  If the claimant’s 60 day period has expired, Mr. Lewis will attempt to explain to the claimant that he/she has missed their opportunity to appeal that decision and must start over by filing another initial application.  This may be the only time Mr. Lewis advises the claimant to reapply.  Be aware that there are also provisions for untimely filings if the SSA accepts your reason for being late.  Generally, if the claimant has been denied at the initial application level and is within that 60 day period, disability attorney Scott Lewis will inform the claimant to appeal the disability denial rather than starting a new disability claim.  … Continued

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January 7, 2011

The Social Security Administration and An Unsuccessful Work Attempt

You want to work and you know even with Social Security disability benefits you are going to struggle to make ends meet.  Even with all of the extreme pain you are experiencing, you finally find a job and drag yourself to it just to find out there is no way you can work.  You realize you cannot make it through a full day of work, and even if you do, you find yourself out of work for two days because of the pain you are in from forcing yourself to work.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis has heard the above scenario on numerous occasions.  If this has happened to you or a loved one this might be considered by the Social Security Administration as an “unsuccessful work attempt” or UWA. What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA)?  This is where a person attempts to do substantial work, but stops or reduces the work to below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) levels after six months or less because of a disabling condition or because of removal of special conditions related to the disabling condition. Other issues concerning an Unsuccessful Work Attempt that may have an impact can include whether you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), trial work periods, and extended periods of eligibility.  More information concerning these topics and other useful topics can be found in the Social Security Administration’s publication “The Red Book”. The good news is you do not have to tackle unanswered questions alone. Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott D. Lewis strives to answer many questions concerning eligibility for Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis talks to potential clients about claims involving bipolar disorder, scoliosis, stroke, epilepsy, depression, and many other severe impairments.

Filed under: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) || Tagged under:
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January 5, 2011

Is There A Way I Can Get My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing Faster?

Maybe you are getting tired of waiting for your Indiana Social Security disability appeal hearing and now you are wondering if there is some way to get in front of a Judge quicker.  You may now find this long wait to have your disability claim heard has put you and your family in financial turmoil and cannot believe it is taking this long to enter an Indiana Social Security disability courtroom.  Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis fields many calls asking this very question, and he lets these Indiana residents know there are ways to get there faster, but the criteria to do so may not sound very appealing. There are circumstances where the Social Security Administration (SSA) will at times move you up in the waiting process and these situations are  considered “dire circumstances”.  These critical cases include: Military service casualty cases Compassionate allowance cases The claimant is homicidal or suicidal The claimant has a terminal illness Shelter, food, or medicine is unavailable and the claimant is unable to obtain it The aforementioned criteria to establish an Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim as “dire need” is only a framework to go by, the facts in each individual case vary and can effect a case differently.  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis can discuss your particular case in more detail.  If a claim is determined to be dire need, a hearing office should take immediate action to expedite the Social Security disability claim. Unfortunately, with the current hearing backlog many Indiana Social Security disability claimants find themselves not fitting into a dire need circumstance, but struggling to make it to their hearing date.  If you have questions concerning Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits contact Scott D. Lewis for a … Continued

Filed under: Claims Process, Hearings Process || Tagged under:
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December 12, 2010

Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis Answers Questions About Returning To Work During The Claims Process

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis fields occasional telephone calls from his Indiana disability clients asking what the ramifications will be if they try to reenter the workforce.  As fundamental as it may sound, the facts of a particular case always matter.  Many Indiana residents are finding they are having a difficult time putting food on the table for themselves and their families during a very lengthy application and appeals process.  A few topics Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis may encounter may include: Are you considering a full time or part time job?  If your disabling condition(s) do not permit you to work full time, but you think you may be able to work part time, you may be interested in a term call “Substantial Gainful Activity” or “SGA”.  This is an amount the Social Security Administration determines as earnings you can make on a monthly basis and still be entitled to disability benefits.  SGA for 2010 is $1,640.00/month for statutorily blind individuals and $1,000.00/month for non-blind individuals.  There are different criteria for those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) concerning blind individuals. It appears these amounts will also be valid for 2011, but more information concerning SGA can be found on the Social Security Administration’s website. Should you withdraw your claim for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as soon as you start back to work?  Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis usually advises his clients to wait and see if they are actually able to perform a full-time job or a job that creates more than the SGA for a number of months before withdrawing their claim. Many times, individuals believe they can work but find their condition prevents them from performing substantial gainful activity. If you have been waiting for an Indiana Social Security … Continued

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December 3, 2010

Can I Win My Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal If I Am Not Seeing Doctors?

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis talks to many Indiana residents every week asking if they can win their Social Security disability claim when they are not seeing doctors.  He usually tells them it is going to be very difficult to get a favorable outcome without good medical records to prove they are disabled.  Without medical records the Social Security Administration (SSA) has nothing to base a decision on that will result in you being granted disability benefits. Indiana Social Security claimants often ask if the consultative examination the Social Security Administration (SSA) administered will suffice since they don’t have their own personal physician(s).  In Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, the disability claimant usually cannot rely on a consultative examination for a favorable result.  Anyone who has been to one of these consultative examinations probably has had a similar experience.  Most Indiana Social Security appeals claimants complain the examinations are very short and many times do not even cover the disabling condition(s) the disabled individual wants to be addressed.  In general, it is very difficult to find a substitute for a physician that has seen you for an extended period of time and is familiar with you and your disabling condition. What should you do if you do not have healthcare and you believe you are disabled and unable to work?  While you may receive different advice from different sources, Indiana Disability Attorney Scott Lewis often tells his clients to apply for any government sponsored healthcare program that is appropriate for you, go to your local hospital and find out if they offer a low cost health care program, and search for free clinics that can render health care assistance.  These are just a few options to try and by no means will they always turn up a positive result. … Continued

Filed under: Medical Treatment || Tagged under:
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November 18, 2010

Security Issues At Social Security Disability Hearing Offices

Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis travels to many Social Security hearing offices around the state of Indiana.  There has been much news recently about the safety and security of these Social Security hearing offices.  Due to the large amount of pending Indiana Social Security disability claims, some hearings take place in atmospheres that may surprise Indiana Social Security disability claimants.  With that in mind, it may not be a surprise that the level of security varies from one hearing location to another. The majority of the time an Indiana Social Security disability claimant will have a hearing at the Office of Disability, Adjudication and Review (ODAR).  At the majority of ODAR locations Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis visits, the security is very similar.  Indiana Social Security disability claimants will enter the hearing office and be asked for photo identification, asked some basic questions, and then usually purses and belongings are checked over and a metal detector is used.  If everything checks out, you let the staff know you have arrived and take a seat.  Recently, due to a large amount of pending claims, hearings are being held in what Indiana Social Security disability claimants may think is a strange atmosphere for a hearing.  Some of these locations may even include hotels.  Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis sometimes finds himself and his client in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a hotel room.  Yes that is correct, a hotel room.  Will your end result be different from a hearing in a hotel room?  Probably not, but it does seem rather odd.  The only thing Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis has noticed at these “make shift” hearings location is that there is minimal security.  At times the Indiana disability client does not even check in.  They simply … Continued

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November 16, 2010

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott D. Lewis and Your Free Consultation

It shouldn’t be surprising Indiana disability claimants are usually struggling to make ends meet. Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis understands the financial problems a disabling condition can cause and provides a free consultation to evaluate your Social Security disability benefits claim. Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis receives numerous calls per week from Indiana residents who are confused by the Social Security process and are happy to hear they can receive a free evaluation of their case. What happens in a free Social Security disability case evaluation? Generally, Mr. Lewis finds these calls fall into two categories: Individuals who have not filed for their Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  These individuals usually have questions as to how disabled they must be, if a particular disabling condition qualifies them for benefits, how long they must be off of work, and finally and perhaps most important how do they file their initial claim.  It is not uncommon for these individuals to have numerous questions as the Indiana Social Security disability process can be confusing.  Indiana residents who have not applied for their Social Security disability benefits need to know the majority of Social Security disability claims are denied at the initial stage.  During this initial free evaluation Indiana Social Security clients should ask disability attorney Scott Lewis as many questions as possible to help clear up any confusion regarding their disability claim or about the Social Security disability claims process.  After all, it’s a free consultation so disability claimants should use it to their advantage. Individuals that have been denied their Indiana Social Security disability benefits.  Most of these Indiana residents call disability lawyer Scott Lewis sounding disgruntled and upset that Social Security is disapproving their claim when they know they are unable to work and support themselves and their family.  Questions … Continued

Filed under: Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney || Tagged under:
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November 13, 2010

I am Receiving VA Disability Compensation, Can I Also Receive Social Security Disability?

Many Indiana disabled veterans talk to Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis about receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits when they are receiving disability compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA). At the present, there are many Indiana disabled veterans coming home from active duty with various disabling conditions; one prominent condition is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are several factors to take into consideration when talking about these two very separate programs. 1.  If I qualify for Veterans benefits, do I automatically qualify for Social Security benefits? No. These are two different government programs. An Indiana Social Security disability claimant with a VA rating of 70 percent or more may have a better chance that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will take into consideration the Veterans Administration has found you disabled at such a high rating, but there is no guarantee. 2.  Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) work on percentages like the Veterans Administration?  No, with the Social Security Administration it is all or nothing. They either find you 100% disabled or they don’t. 3.  When should I apply? As soon as you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you are unable to work because of your disabling condition, you should apply for Indiana Social Security disability benefits immediately. One of the problems Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis runs into is that his disabled veteran clients wait too long to apply. Many Indiana veterans leave active duty in a disabled condition and start receiving VA compensation not knowing they are eligible for Indiana Social Security disability benefits. The problem here is that the clock starts ticking and these Indiana veterans don’t know they have a limited time to prove they are disabled before their date last … Continued

Filed under: Social Security Disability Benefits Claims Process || Tagged under:
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November 12, 2010

Stroke and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often finds himself talking to Indiana residents wondering if they can receive disability benefits because they have experienced a stroke.  Disability attorney Scott Lewis usually finds the stroke itself is not to be the reason the individual cannot work, but the effects afterward.  Many Social Security disability claimants find themselves unable to remember things and complain of short and long term memory loss after experiencing a stroke.  Another problem may include the inability to function physically as they did prior to having a stroke. One major issue may involve that to be entitled to Indiana Social Security disability benefits an individual must be disabled for twelve months or be expected to be disabled for twelve months, or the disability is expected to result in death. This is called the “durational requirement”.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) could argue that the residual effects of your stroke may go away.  It is difficult to determine if this is true, so good medical evidence may be the key to proving your disability will persist. Through good medical records, including physical and psychological records, an Indiana Social Security disability claimant should try to prove they are unable to return to their past work, and are unable to perform any other jobs that exist in the economy.  This may be accomplished by showing that the Indiana Social Security disability claimant has such a reduced physical or mental capacity that they are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis also attempts to categorize his disability clients into a listing in the Listing of Impairments issued by the Social Security Administration.  

Filed under: Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments || Tagged under:
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November 3, 2010

Indianapolis Disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis Thoughts About Unemployment Compensation

Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis routinely runs into some of the same questions and/or concerns many of his Indiana disability clients share.  Many of these are a sign of the times, as many people are losing their jobs and cannot support their families or themselves while waiting on a Social Security disability hearing. A big question they share is “Can I receive unemployment and still try to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?”   Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has written a previous blog on this issue, but the question is still a dominant matter in his Social Security disability practice.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) states receiving unemployment insurance compensation does not preclude you from receiving Social Security disability benefits, although it can be a factor in determining whether you receive those benefits. Now, let’s talk reality.  In Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, it depends on what Social Security Administrative Law Judge you get when you are at the hearing level.  Some Judges make this a sole reason for denying your benefits whereas Judges don’t even ask you about it.  Then again, other Judges are somewhere in between.  These judges may want to amend your onset date to the date right after you received your last unemployment payment. When assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) you should ask your Indianapolis Social Security lawyer or representative about the particular ALJ you have.  How does this Judge look at receiving unemployment compensation while attempting to get Social Security disability?  This may help prepare you for the types of questions you will be asked at your Indiana Social Security disability hearing.  If your answer to this question is that you and your family would have went hungry and lost your home, Attorney Scott Lewis suggests you tell the Social Security Administrative … Continued

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