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April 25, 2011

Will The Judge Tell Me If I Won Or Lost At The End Of My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing?

So you have waited quite a long time for your upcoming Social Security disability hearing and think you will finally get an answer to your appeal.  Well the truth is, you probably have another waiting period to endure before you receive a decision in the mail.  Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott D. Lewis often gets asked by his clients when will they find out if they have won or lost their Indiana Social Security disability appeal.  There are a few different scenarios that can take place at the conclusion of your Social Security disability hearing. If you are one of the lucky few, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may make a bench decision.  After a  judge hears testimony, if he/she believes the claimant is disabled, he/she can make a fully favorable bench decision.  In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience a bench decision can speed up the time it takes in processing a disability claim.  The Administrative Law Judge usually reads into the record his/her reasons for granting the disability claim.  Some judges make bench decisions on a routine basis when granting claims, while other judges rarely, if ever, use bench decisions.  So what happens if you are not a lucky recipient of a bench decision?  You shouldn’t think you have lost your disability claim because there are other ways judges decide disability claims. Many judges do not make the decision on your disability claim the day you are in court.  Although almost all Social Security disability hearings have a similar theme, many judges decide claims using a different process.  Some Administrative Law Judges will have already looked over your file before the hearing.  These judges then get testimony from the claimant and then make a decision.  Other judges may not have looked at your record at all before the … Continued

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April 18, 2011

Will I Have To Talk At My Indiana Social Security Disbility Hearing?

Indiana residents waiting on a Social Security disability hearing may find themselves anxious  and worried about what will happen when they enter the courtroom.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis is often asked by his clients whether or not they will have to speak at the hearing.  Mr. Lewis advises his clients that they probably will have to speak at the hearing, but at the same time they should expect to be prepared for what kind of questions they will be asked. As an Indiana Social Security lawyer, Mr. Lewis believes it is a very important part of his job to prepare his clients for the hearing.  Although no Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is exactly the same, there is usually a general framework of questions that are asked of each client.  Indianapolis attorney Scott D. Lewis lets his disability clients know they are usually asked personal questions, job related questions, and medical questions.  Mr. Lewis believes your answers are sometimes judged as to whether you are credible.  In other words, are you believable, are you telling the truth, and are you exaggerating how much pain you are in. Indiana Administrative Law Judges conduct numerous hearings every year and some can be pretty slick in the way they question you and may even try to trick you into making contradicting statements.  It is important to tell the truth and do not overstate the problems you are experiencing.  If you are honest and realistic about the problems you are experiencing then you will not have to worry about the credibility of the statements you make.  The pain you experience is usually not something a test can measure, so your own opinion of your pain is all an Administrative Law Judge can count on. Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis believes a good attorney … Continued

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April 14, 2011

Why Was I Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

It is not uncommon for an Indiana disability claimant to have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits since majority of disability claims  are denied at the initial application level.  Many SDDI and SSI claimants face the same question after they have been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Attorney Scott D. Lewis gets calls from disability claimants on a daily basis asking him why they have been denied disability benefits and what should they do next. Mr. Lewis always directs the claimant to the denial letter that they have received by the SSA.  This letter specifically states the reason for denial.  So, take the time to read the decision the SSA sent to you to figure out exactly why you were denied in the first place.  Once you know why you were denied, you can begin to collect the necessary documentation to appeal this decision.  Some reasons for denial may include: In 2010, you make more than $1,000 per month.  If you exceed this amount, you will immediately be denied disability benefits. Based on the information you provided the SSA when filing your claim, they have determined that your disability will not last or be expected to last a minimum of 12 months. You failed to comply with the SSA’s request for information or medical records.  Not complying with this request may ultimately cause you to be denied benefits. The SSA has attempted to locate you and was unable to reach you. At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC, Mr. Lewis assists disability claimants with appealing their denied claim.  Either him or his staff will often ask his clients to retrieve the denial letter so he can discuss the reasons for denial prior to appealing the claim.  It is important … Continued

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April 7, 2011

Can I Get Social Security Disability For Coronary Artery Disease?

Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis seems to get more and more calls from his Indiana neighbors asking the above question.  This may be due to medical advances being able to diagnose coronary artery disease at an early stage or perhaps simply more individuals are experiencing this cardiovascular impairment.  There are many factors that go into a finding of disabled for coronary artery disease and if you are pursuing an Indiana Social Security disability claim you need to be aware of what documentation you may need to win your disability claim. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has seen many clients denied disability benefits at the initial and reconsideration levels when they have already underwent numerous medical procedures including bypass surgeries, stent placement, and various other procedures.  Some individuals have experienced heart attacks and still find themselves pulling a denial from their mailbox.  Many individuals not familiar with heart problems may be shocked to find a finding of disability is not a sure thing when an individual suffers from this type of impairment.  The truth is, the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes you can recover from these types of cardiovascular impairments and go on to perform substantial gainful activity. How can you win an Indiana Social Security disability claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?  One of the keys may be good solid comprehensive medical records.  Statements from your treating physician, preferably a specialist in the cardiovascular area, stating your restrictions and inability to work can be beneficial.  One way to win your Indiana Social Security disability claim is to meet or equal Social Security’s Listing of Impairments under Section 4.00 for the Cardiovascular System.  The Listing of Impairments can be very rigid in their guidelines, and many Indiana disability claimants find that they don’t precisely meet … Continued

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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 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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