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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 23, 2011

I Have Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits and I Don’t Know What To Do Next!

Indiana residents that have been denied Social Security disability benefits often wonder what to do next in order to get the benefits they deserve. Statistically, it is stated that nearly 2% of Americans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits each year. SSDI and SSI benefits are available to those individuals with a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions preventing them from working working for twelve consecutive months or longer or expected to be unable to work for 12 months. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of these claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the initial stage of the claims process. Once denied, many disability claimants wonder what to do next. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often encourages his disability clients to be patient and to not panic. Although the claimant was denied initially, there may be hope for winning your claim. Even though the Social Security disability appeals process is long and may be complicated, it can be manageable and ultimately your claim may be approved. Once the disability claimant receives their initial denial by the SSA, the claimant should file an appeal within 60 days from the date of the decision letter.  Most of the time, appeals can be filed online at the SSA’s website.  The first appeal the claimant must file is the “Request for Reconsideration.”  This appeal is simply asking the SSA to review your claim again for consideration of SSDI or SSI benefits.  Within a certain amount of time, the SSA will either approve or deny this appeal.  Again, don’t stop there!  As stated before, the majority of these claims are denied so it is important to continue the appeals process.  A second appeal must be filed in order to have your disability case heard in from of a judge.  This second … 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 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 14, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Attorney Scott Lewis Discusses Absenteeism in the Workplace and Social Security Disability

Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has many disability clients who claim that their disability causes them to miss too many days of work to hold down a job.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, Indianapolis disability claimant’s who have a mental condition or a physical condition that causes them to be absent from work on a regular basis may be a factor in determining whether they receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When a Social Security disability claimant gets denied SSDI or SSI benefits, the claimant has the right to appeal that decision made by the Social Security Administration (SSA) by requesting a hearing.  Once the disability claimant is in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the claimant often sees other individuals in the hearing room.  One of these individuals may be a Vocational Expert.  A Vocational Expert is at the hearing to testify to which jobs the claimant may or may not be able to perform due to their disabling condition(s).  As Attorney Scott Lewis questions his clients regarding their disabling condition(s), he often finds that his Indiana disability clients have difficulty with regular attendance in a work setting.  Many times, disabling conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions can result in an individual’s inability to get out of bed every morning and make it to their workplace.  At the hearing, a Vocational Expert (or job expert) may testify that two or more absences per month may result in termination of employment. At times, in Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, in the above line of questioning when the job expert states that no employers will permit this type of absenteeism, it may result in a favorable decision. At an Indianapolis Administrative Law Judge appeal hearing, claimants often find the line of questioning … Continued

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February 7, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Claimants with Depression

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis is an experienced attorney representing Social Security disability claimants.  Many of his Indiana Social Security disability clients suffer mental disorders such as depression.  Often, disability claimants with depression do not have sufficient medical documentation to back up their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Some disability claimants lack health insurance causing insufficient medical documentation.  Mr. Lewis advises his clients to investigate in the low income health programs or programs offered to uninsured individuals located in the Indianapolis area such as Wishard’s Health Advantage program.  Some other reasons disability claimants with depression may lack medical documentation supporting their claim is because a claimant may not be seeing doctors because they are ashamed of their disabling condition so they don’t seek the medical attention that they need from a mental health professional.  Having a lack of medical history to support your disability claim may ultimately cause you to lose your case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) approves SSDI or SSI claims based on medical evidence, so if you are suffering from depression, it is important to seek out the opinion of a qualified mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who will provide documentation to back up your claim.  It may be helpful that these professionals need to identify that: you are indeed suffering from clinical depression; and your depression significantly interferes with your ability to work. If your mental health physician has prescribed you medication to help you with your depressive state, the SSA may frown upon your lack of compliance if you do continue to take your medications.  Medications such as anti-depressants may not enough to prove your case.  A psychiatrist can be most effective in helping you to demonstrate the following to the SSA: The individual is depressed and suffering from a history of mental health issues related to his/her … Continued

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February 3, 2011

Searching for an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

Indiana Social Security disability attorneys can help disability claimants who are unable to work due to an impairment or a combination of impairments lasting or expecting to last a minimum of twelve (12) months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, processes claims, and administers the benefits program. A Social Security disability lawyer or representative may help guide clients through what can be a rather confusing disability claims process and disability appeals process.   Indianapolis disability attorneys may also assist the claimant with resolving any problems that arise with the SSDI or SSI claims and benefits. You’re disabled and unable to work because of this disability and you have applied for Social Security disability benefits, but find out that you have been denied.  You want to appeal this decision made by the SSA, but think that it would be helpful to hire a disability lawyer to represent you in this claim.  Many Indiana Social Security disability applicants are unaware that they have a right to representation in their Social Security disability claim.  Although it is not required to hire a disability attorney, you may find it to be beneficial to have representation for your disability appeal. How do I find an Indiana Social Security disability lawyer?  Indianapolis disability claimants may find themselves struggling with where and how they will ever find a disability attorney that may be able to properly represent them in their disability case.  Disability claimants will find that there are multiple ways to find themselves the representation that they desire.  Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis advertises his services in a variety of ways to serve Indiana residents, such as: Television Commercials Internet Telephone Book Billboard Referrals Mr. Lewis’s goal is to be accessible to disability claimants when they need it.  Some disability … Continued

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