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May 31, 2011

Can I Represent Myself at My Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing?

Most Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants initiate the disability claims process by filing their initial application for benefits on their own or with assistance from a family member or friend. Unfortunately, some statistics report that nearly 80% of disability claims are denied at the initial application level. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer, Scott D. Lewis, has experience in the disability appeals process.  Mr. Lewis offers a free consultation to those individuals that are unable to work due to a disabling condition or a combination of disabling conditions. Once the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your disability claim, you may want to contact a qualified Social Security disability lawyer or representative to discuss your Indiana disability benefits claim.  Although optional, Mr. Lewis recommends having legal representation at your disability hearing.  An experienced disability attorney or representative can be trained in presenting and arguing disability cases in front an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and may be trained in questioning the vocational expert or medical expert that may potentially be at your hearing.  Indiana disability claimants may argue their own case in front of an ALJ, but some statistics show that disability claims that are argued by a disability attorney or representative are more likely to win. Once Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis and his staff receive a copy of the claimant’s Social Security file, he and his staff carefully review it. Reviewing the file will inform him what the disability examiners at the initial and reconsideration levels looked at when the claim was denied at those levels. This also gives Mr. Lewis an idea of how strongly or not your own treating doctors support your case. Additionally, reviewing your file allows Mr. Lewis and his staff to identify whether or not certain evidence from some of your medical sources was simply not gathered. Many times, Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds an … Continued

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May 27, 2011

Indianapolis Disability Lawyers Can Assist in Disability Claims Involving Chari Malformation

Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis has on more than one occasion talked with individuals who are suffering from Arnold-Chari Malformation.  While the definition of what is commonly called a “Chari Malformation” can be long and perhaps confusing due to complex medical terms in simple terms it is a defect in the cerebellum that it is located below a particular location.  Chari Malformation may occur during the fetal period and be present at birth or it may occur as an adult. Symptoms from Chari Malformation may vary from individual to individual in severity.  Some of the common symptoms may include but are not limited to: Speech problems Vision problems Gait difficulties Numbness and/or tingling Dizziness Neck pain When attempting to receive Social Security disability benefits for Chari Malformation or any other disabling condition it is usually very important to have detailed medial records.  In Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, appropriate testing for the diagnosis of a disorder may be the key in persuading the Social Security Administration (SSA) or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to decide in your favor. Many individuals may not suffer from any symptoms from Chari Malformation, but if your symptoms prevent you from working you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis has represented individuals with Chari-Malformation and helped them receive the Social Security disability benefits they deserve.

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May 13, 2011

Parkinson’s Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits

Indiana individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be surprised to find they have been denied benefits when they have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.  Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis does see individuals with this disorder turned down throughout the disability process and it could be for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons can include, but are not limited to: The Social Security Administration (SSA) simply made an error in denying the claim.  Perhaps they were unable to obtain critical evidence documenting your disabling condition. In Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, this scenario can be very common.  When Mr. Lewis prepares for a case, he strives to ensure all of these crucial medical findings are submitted to the Indiana Social Security Administration.  Also, Mr. Lewis attempts to get your physicians to fill out forms verifying how your disabling condition fits the Social Security Administration’s requirements. It could be that the SSA has determined your condition is not severe enough.  To meet the severity level for Parkinson’s disease (or known as Parkinsonian Syndrome) by the SSA you must meet or be equal to Listing 11.06 in its Listing of impairments. If your condition does not meet the above referenced listing, does your physical or mental residual functional capacity prevent you from working?  In other words, because of the Parkinson’s disease are you are limited in the areas of standing, walking, sitting, lifting, and concentrating among other areas preventing you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Other factors such as your age, education, and prior work experience may also be important factors in a finding of disability. Also, it should go without saying but it is important if you are able to work or exactly how much you are able to work.  The above … Continued

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May 11, 2011

Your Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and the Luck of the Draw

Feeling lucky?  Sometimes an Indiana disability appeal claimant will ask Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis if he/she can select a judge to hear their Social Security disability appeal.  His answer is “No, you pretty much get who you are assigned.”  What does that mean to you?  Indianapolis attorney Scott Lewis tries his best to prepare his clients to be ready for the judge that will hear their case.  If your Social Security disability attorney or representative has been in front of a certain judge before they will probably know better how to prepare you for your hearing. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Administrative Law Judges are people just like you and me.  While they are all trained to conduct the Social Security disability hearings in a particular fashion, many judges craft their own style of hearing.  In the Indianapolis Office or Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), there are a variety of personalities of judges and with an entire floor now devoted to video hearings with judges from various states it can make for a very wide viewpoint of how the disability hearing process should be conducted.  But, make no mistake, as an adult attempting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments the question is whether or not you can work. So your Indiana Social Security disability hearing is scheduled and you finally know who your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will be, so what is next?  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis attempts to let his clients know what type of questions their particular judge is most interested in, how detailed your answers should be, and in general the framework this judge will use in conducting the hearing. It is also important to understand the judge’s claim approval rating in which can vary greatly.  For example, some Administrative Law Judges … Continued

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May 6, 2011

Will I Win My Indiana Disability Appeal Hearing If I Cannot Read Or Write?

Scott Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney who gets asked many questions regarding what qualifies a person for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Every so often he speaks with a client who is unable to read or write and is struggling to find employment.  These individuals are sometimes surprised to learn the Social Security Administration (SSA) may believe there are numerous jobs in the economy that do not require a person to have the ability to read or write.  Does that mean you will be denied your Indiana Social Security disability benefits if you are unable to read and write?  Not always, there may be other factors that come into play when deciding if you are disabled. Many Indiana residents that are unable to read and write have had difficulties obtaining an education.  This can be due to a variety of factors including having learning disabilities.  If you have had standardized intelligence testing (commonly known as IQ testing) and if your scores fall below a certain number you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.  You may find the criteria for this can be different for children than adults.  For more information you can look to Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments” under listing 112.05 for children and listing 12.05 for adults. A Vocational Expert (also know as a Job Expert) may testify at an Indiana Social Security disability hearing that some individuals with a very low mental capacity may be unable to perform even simple routine repetitive tasks.  This could be due to the fact that they cannot remember simple directions and would need reminded of the work process too often by a supervisor to maintain employment. Also, if an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decides a person may need a job coach to … Continued

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May 4, 2011

Can My Kids Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

You may be surprised how often Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis gets asked the above question.  The truth is, there are specific guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) just for children.  The Social Security Administration does provide payments through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for disabled children. On many occasions, Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis finds himself discussing the “ins and outs” of the SSI program as it pertains to children with his potential and current clients.  One of the first hurdles many families may encounter when trying to obtain Indiana Social security disability benefits for their child is the question of income and resources.  If the child or a certain family member’s income and resources are above the limit set forth by the SSA, it may not matter how disabled the child is.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is what may be termed a “needs” based program.  In other words, if the SSA determines you don’t need it, you don’t get it.  So what happens if your child and family income and resources are below the limit?  At that point, the Social Security Administration will determine if your child has a qualifying disabling condition. When it comes to a child, what does the Social Security Administration consider a disabling condition?  Indiana residents may want to take a look at Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments.”  This is a guideline assembled to outline certain disabling conditions.  It should be noted there is a section that is focused solely on child disabilities.  If your child does not precisely meet one of these listings there are still other ways to win your Indiana Social Security disability appeal. In cases involving children, the Social Security Administration will look at several domains in determining if a child is disabled … Continued

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May 3, 2011

Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Am On Oxygen?

Is being on oxygen a sure winner in Social Security disability cases?  In Indianapolis Social Security disability Scott Lewis’ experience, there are many variables involved in a person needing to be on oxygen and their ability to work.  The thought of dragging around an oxygen tank in the workplace may sound far fetched to some, but at times Vocational Experts (job expert) may say there are occupations that a person can do while still needing the aid of oxygen.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes if you are attempting to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because you need the aid of oxygen, you should first look to see if your medical condition meets one of the listings in Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) “Listing of Impairments”. Indiana disability appeals claimants with respiratory problems may want to look to SSA’s Listing 3.00 concerning the respiratory system.  While this listing covers various respiratory issues, those with severe breathing problems may want to consider Listing 3.02 Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency.  This Listing contains various tables comparing FEV1 levels and an individual’s height and other data to determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.  To determine your FEV1 level, Mr. Lewis suggests you contact your treating physician to arrange appropriate testing.  After looking at this particular listing and some people find it confusing, but do not feel alone.  Much of the material in the “Listing of Impairments” can be confusing and you may find it in your best interest to contact your physician or a qualified Social Security disability lawyr to sort through this information. If you do not meet or equal a listing,will you lose your Indiana Social Security disability appeal?  Not always.  It may depend on how often you are short of breath, experience chest pain, find yourself fatigued, and many other … Continued

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April 28, 2011

Your Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal and Radiculopathy

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis represents disability claimants with many disabling conditions including those suffering from radiculopathy. Potential disability clients often call his office who suffer from radiculopathy, but are unsure whether this condition qualifies them for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When your disabling condition begins to prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), and you find yourself unable to provide for yourself and/or your family the way you used to, it may be time to inquire about Social Security disability benefits. Radiculopathy is a condition that is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disabling condition under the SSA’s Listing of Impairment’s Spinal Disorders.  If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, the first step is to look through the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments” to see if you have a qualifying disability. The SSA publishes these listings as a resource for those looking to receive Social Security disability benefits.  These listing are used by the SSA to decide whether or not a claimant’s disability meets the Social Security Administration’s standards for disability and whether the disability claimant should be awarded or denied disability benefits. Radiculopathy is defined under listing 1.04 Disorders of the Spine, Section A. Carefully evaluate this listing and discuss with your physician about whether or not he/she feels as though you meet or equal the criteria to be found disabled. Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis often sends his client’s physicians a list of questions in hopes that they will complete these questionnaires in such a way as to show the client does indeed meet the listing, making it easier for Social Security to find the claimant disabled. If it is determined that the disability claimant does not meet or equal the listing (1.04 Disorders of the Spine, Section A) which defines radiculopathy and its … Continued

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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 22, 2011

Who Can Help Me with Filing a Social Security Disability Claim?

“I am filing for Social Security disability benefits and I need help with the application process!”  This is a common concern heard among Indiana Social Security disability applicants.  The Social Security disability claims process can be long and frustrating and many claimants struggle with the application process.  Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis assists Indianapolis disability claimants with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.  During a free consultation offered by Attorney Lewis, he will ask the claimant where they are in the claims process.  If the claimant is in the initial application stage, he will refer the disability claimant to one (1) of the following sources in order to file their initial application for disability benefits: Visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) website at www.ssa.gov to apply online.  Once on the SSA’s website, select the “disability” tab at the top of the home page.  You will be directed to a new page, where you will select the “Apply for Disability” box.  Then you will follow the steps instructed on the application.  It should be noted that this application is for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and that if you are applying for Supplement Security Income benefits that a SSA representative will need to discuss your application. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.  Explain to the Social Security representative that you would like to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits and you would like to schedule an appointment to apply in person. Visit your local Social Security Administration to schedule an appointment to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. Applying for disability benefits online is convenient and fast.  Although applying online has it’s advantages, it may have some disadvantages.  Unless you have a family or friend assisting you with the online application, you are completing it on your own.  … Continued

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