September 18, 2012

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Social Security Disability

In my practice I often represent individuals with bowel and urinary problems, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is no exception.  The symptoms my clients describe make me a real believer that they are unable to function in a work environment without accommodations that most employers are unwilling to make.  Some of my clients find it embarrassing to discuss their symptoms, so they do not provide the best testimony at their disability hearing.  I remind them that their hearings are confidential, and that no one outside of the hearing room will know what has been said.  Nonetheless, I understand their hesitancy to discuss these personal issues. One key to winning at your Social Security disability hearing is to make sure that the administrative law judge (ALJ) understands the nature of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a book called the “Listing of Impairments”  that attempts to clearly define the conditions the SSA recognizes as disabling. Although IBS is not specifically addressed in these listings, some of its symptoms are included under Listing 5.06 for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and under other listings in Section 5: Digestive System Impairments.  Even if your Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not meet or equal a listing under Section 5, your symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with your ability to do work-related activities.  These symptoms can include, but are not limited to: Diarrhea that can be frequent and chronic Constipation that can be frequent and chronic Abdominal pain Feeling of fullness or bloating Gas Many of my clients with this disabling condition complain of having to make countless trips to the bathroom each day and of having uncontrollable bowel movements or “accidents” on many occasions.  If you have frequent bowel accidents, it is important to inform your medical treating source about … Continued

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September 5, 2012

What Happens To The Money In Children’s SSI Cases?

I represent many families with children who have disabilities at the hearings level in Indiana.  I believe I handle more children’s cases than many of my counterparts.  In fact, some attorneys tell me they simply will not take children’s disability claims at all.  Children’s disabilities can vary greatly, and the mental and physical problems caused by these health condition(s) can be devastating.  I often sit at the hearing and wonder, “When my client is awarded benefits, who is going to manage the money, and how will the money be used?” In children’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases it is important to first understand Social Security’s income and resource restrictions.  If a family makes too much money, or if the family’s assets such as its vehicles, house, or bank accounts are worth too much, that family probably will not qualify for SSI benefits.  A family that does qualify for SSI is most likely struggling quite a bit to pay for for medical expenses, rent, food, and clothing.  Once a child is awarded SSI benefits, the family is eager to find out what types of expenses can be paid with SSI benefits, and who will be responsible for spending the money.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has guidelines as to how those monies should be spent and who will do the spending. First, most minor children are required to have a representative payee who will manage their SSI payments.  The representative payee is required to: Use the payments to meet the needs of the beneficiary (i.e., the child) Save any money left over Report any changes Keep good records Help the beneficiary get medical treatment Notify SSA of changes in payee’s circumstances Complete accounting reports regarding the use of funds Return any monies beneficiary is not entitled to Now the big question … Continued

Filed under: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) || Tagged under:
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March 8, 2011

Child Social Security Disability Benefits and a Few Words From Indinapolis Disbility Lawyer Scott Lewis

The amount of inquiries Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis receives on a weekly basis concerning child Social Security disability benefits is quite large.  The parent(s) or guardian(s) of these children have many questions concerning the eligibility criteria for qualifying for disability benefits.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program can provide disability payments to children from birth to eighteen years of age if they meet medical and resource requirements. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis finds many families fail to receive payments for a disabled child due to Social Security’s income and resource rules.  The Social Security Administration will not only consider income and resources of family members living with the child, but also the income and resources of the child.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds most families are surprised to find the threshold for income and resources is usually a lower figure than they had anticipated.  So even if your child meets the medical disability requirements set by the Social Security Administration your claim can be barred due to income and resource restrictions. Now in the event your family and child’s income and resources are below the limit set by the Social Security Administration, you next must meet the Social Security Administration’s rules for disability.  The child must have marked and severe functional limitations with a mental or physical condition, or a combination of conditions that have lasted or is expected to last for a period of twelve months.  Also, for 2011 the child can not be working and earning over $1,000 a month. When it comes to examining the mental or physical disability the child experiences, the Social Security Administration will consider: Functioning in motor skills. Functioning in personal skills. Functioning in cognitive and communicative skills. Functioning in response to stimuli for infants. Functioning in concentration, persistence, or … Continued

Filed under: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) || Tagged under:
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January 10, 2011

The Hearing Brief and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal

Indianapolis Social Security Lawyer Scott D. Lewis often finds it helpful to write a hearing brief in preparation for an upcoming Indiana Social Security disability hearing.  A hearing brief can serve as a theory of the case and provide a framework for how your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case may be argued.  Attorney Scott Lewis believes there are many advantages to submitting a brief before a hearing, and these may include: A concise explanation of how the claimant meets or equals the criteria for disability. Citations to medical records of importance and citations to Medical Provider Questionnaires and Physical/Mental Functional Residual Capacity Assessments if they are contained in the file. The brief can help the attorney or representative prepare for the hearing and make him/her aware of positive and/or negative aspects of the claim. Some Administrative Law Judges ask for a brief to be submitted. Set the attorney/representative apart from those individuals who do not submit a brief. Make it easier for the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to render a favorable decision  There are usually numerous medical documents in a claimant’s file; therefore,  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes it makes sense to point the Judge in the correct direction and hope he/she agrees with your summary of the case. The above are just a few reasons a hearing brief may be beneficial in being awarded Social Security disability benefits.  It should be noted all Administrative Law Judges handle Social Security cases differently and the submission of a hearing brief may not have an impact on your Indiana Social Security disability claim.  It has been the experience of Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis that a well written brief can help him in the formulation of a well thought out consistent theory of your … 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.

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