July 15, 2011

Are Indianapolis Social Security Disability Hearing Wait Times Shrinking?

Indiana Social Security lawyer Scott Lewis has noticed a few changes concerning the waiting period for getting your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hearing.  Have the wait times for Social Security disability hearings been reduced?  Mr. Lewis is not so sure there is a clear cut answer to this question. The Indianapolis Indiana Social Security disability hearing office has been attempting to get the number of days you have to wait for your hearing down to a manageable number.  The use of video hearings with Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) from other states presiding over the hearings held at the local Indianapolis office has seemed to make a dent in this huge backlog at times.  Although it is surprising to find an Indiana Social Security disability claimant to be at a video hearing within 12 months of their date of application, while in the next video hearing room an individual has waited for 30 months, there seems to be little explanation for why this discrepancy exists.  This can make it very difficult for Mr. Lewis to give his clients a good idea of when they might find themselves at the hearing office. There have been reports that while the Social Security Administration is taking measures to reduce the backlog, it is actually growing.  If this is indeed the case, the Social Security Administration may need to hire even more Administrative Law Judges and open more hearing offices.  Perhaps more concentration on finding individuals disabled in the earlier stages of the application process could be an answer.  Mr. Lewis knows one thing for sure: the individuals suffering the most from a hearing backlog are those disabled claimants who are unable to provide for themselves and their families. If you have questions concerning your Social Security disability claim … Continued

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July 11, 2011

Will My Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits Go On Forever?

Many people rely on Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits for survival.  Its not a truckload of money and many Indiana Social Security disability recipients find it difficult to make ends meet with only their disability checks from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  So if you are receiving disability payments and wonder if they will ever stop you are probably not alone. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments and your disabling condition is as severe as it was when you first were granted benefits and you are not working or receiving income up to a substantial gainful activity amount chances are your payments will probably continue. Although, you should not be surprised if your case is reviewed on a regular basis to determine your eligibility. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income payments the above criteria applies, but there is an additional aspect of continuing benefits with regard to resources.  Supplemental Security Income payments have a financial element along with the severity of your disability and substantial gainful activity.  As with SSDI claims, SSI claims can be regularly reviewed to determine continuing eligibility. Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis understands how important a Social Security disability check can be to a disabled individual.  Mr. Lewis strives to get the benefits his clients deserve.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis has helped individuals with a wide range of disabling conditions including stroke, emphysema, fibromyalgia, mental retardation, and diabetes among other conditions.  If you have questions, you may want to contact an attorney or claimant representative, as most offer a free consultation.  

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July 8, 2011

If I Win My Indiana Social Security Disability Appeal, What Happens Next?

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney and has experience with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims from start to finish.  When a Social Security disability claim is found favorable it generally sets into motion a chain of events that hopefully will result in a payment to the disabled individual.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis advises his clients on what to expect in the event of winning their claim, but usually cautions them to not get ahead of themselves and concentrate on winning the disability claim first. So what happens after you receive a notice in the mail that you have won your disability claim?  If it is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim you can probably expect a phone call from the Social Security Administration to determine what resources you have among other factors to determine how much your monthly benefit will be.  The SSI program is basically a “needs” based program and how much the Social Security Administration determines you need through a formula that is used will determine how much you will receive. Once that is determined an award letter is generated detailing how much your payments will be, when they will start, and how much of a back payment is due if any. If you are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you will probably not be contacted by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The formula used for computing your payments is based on your work history.  This can usually be computed by the Social Security Administration without your assistance.  Resources are generally not an issue for computation purposes.  Once again, an award letter is generated telling you how much your payments ill be, when they start, and how much of a back payment is due if … Continued

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June 30, 2011

Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits for my Child

An Indiana resident that has a child that suffers from a disabling condition such as a mental disorder or a physical impairment often wonders if they are able to receive Social Security disability benefits.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis has experience with representing child disability claimants.  Unfortunately, some parents assume that filing for disability benefits is different for a child than from an adult applying for disability benefits.   While there may some differences, the application process is very similar. Because a child has little or no work history, the child disability claimant in most cases would have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits rather than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.  Both programs are offered to disabled individuals, but the SSDI program is for those individuals with a qualifying work history.  The SSI program is offered to those disabled individuals who do not have a qualifying work history and have low sources of income or resources. As far as the application a parent or guardian needs to complete on behalf of their child, it is completed and processed in the same manner as an adult disability claim.  Therefore, the child disability claim will be filed at the Social Security Administration (SSA) then forwarded to the state agency handling the claim for the SSA.  This application will be assigned to a disability examiner just like an adult disability claim.  Finally, the child disability claim will either be approved or denied. Although there are many similarities between a child’s disability claim and an adult’s disability claim, there are some slight differences.  A child disability claim will be determined on the basis of residual functional capacity just like an adult’s claim. However, determination whether or not the claimant can return to past work or engage in some form of other work, generally does not apply to children.  In children’s disability claims, … Continued

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June 27, 2011

Knee Replacement and Social Security Disability Benefits

Scott D. Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney helping individuals throughout the state of Indiana in obtaining their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  In disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience individuals who have had a knee replacement can win a disability claim depending on the specific facts in their claim.  This blog is designed to discuss some of those issues involved in a knee replacement claim. First it is important to note the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize this disability in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 1.02 Major Dysfunction of Joint(s).  At times Indiana disability claimants are found disabled by either meeting or equaling this listing due to severe knee impairments.  Although, in Mr. Lewis’ experience more individuals are found disabled by another analysis when it comes to individuals who have underwent knee replacement. If you do not equal or meet a listing, your physical residual functional capacity may be so diminished that you are unable to work.  In other words, your inability to sit, stand, and/or walk for any length of time may render you unable to perform substantial gainful activity.  Also, the pain you experience may make you unable to concentrate or stay on task.  Many individuals with severe knee problems and/or knee replacements may find themselves in constant pain  whether sitting or standing. The need for the use of a cane while at the workstation may also exclude many occupations.  Individuals who need a cane while performing a standing job or a job with a sit/stand option may be considered a one-armed worker and unable to perform that type of work.  Some individuals with knee and leg issues that create swelling must periodically elevate their legs to waist level to reduce swelling while at a seated job.  This … Continued

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June 25, 2011

Indianapolis Indiana Social Security Lawyer Scott Lewis Discusses Panic Attacks

Individuals suffering from panic attacks may find it difficult if not impossible to hold down steady full time employment.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has represented many individuals with this disabling condition and understands the impact it can have on even simple activities of daily living.  Many individuals suffering from panic attacks may experience an intense sudden fear that may bring with it physical reactions.  The sometimes unpredictable nature of panic attacks can create an environment where some individuals are afraid to leave their homes. The symptoms of panic attacks may vary among individuals, but some common symptoms may include: Nausea Shortness of breath Racing heart Dizziness Chest pains Weakness The Social Security Administration does recognize panic attacks in its listing for Anxiety related disorders.  If an individual does not precisely meet this listing there may be other ways to win your Social Security disability claim.  Individuals should also be aware of the fact the Social Security Administration will consider all of your disabling conditions in combination to determine if you are unable to work and are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you have questions regarding Social Security disability benefits contact Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis for a free consultation.  Mr. Lewis handles a wide variety of claims including depression, bipolar disorder, back problems, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease among other conditions.

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June 22, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Aspergers Syndrome

Indiana disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis has helped individuals win Social Security disability claims involving Aspergers Syndrome when they found themselves initially denied.  Many Indiana residents and their families are shocked when they find themselves with a notice of denial when they know this type of impairment can create a huge impact in some areas of functioning. Most of the individuals Mr. Lewis sees with Aspergers Syndrome are children and while there are many symptoms associated with Aspergers Syndrome some of the more common symptoms include: Difficulties with social interaction Repetitive behaviors and problems accepting changes in routines Hypersensitivity to textures, tastes, and sounds. Avoidance eye contact Extreme focus on one area of interest The above symptoms may vary from individual to individual and can have varying degrees of severity.  It is important to note,  an individual trained in the appropriate medical field can usually better assist in deciding what symptoms are generally attributed to Aspergers Syndrome. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has talked with families who have an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome and understands the effects it may have on academic performance, social interaction, and the ability to perform work like activity.  It is important to remember the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize Aspergers Syndrome as a disabling condition.  It may be necessary to appeal your denied Indiana Social security disability claim in order to get the benefits granted that you deserve.

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June 18, 2011

The Reconsideration Stage of the Social Security Disability Claims Process

At the Indiana law office of social security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his staff often find themselves explaining the different stages of the disability claims process to those individuals seeking disability benefits. Individuals that have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits often find themselves receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). When the SSA notifies the disability claimant that their initial application was denied, it is up to the applicant to continue the disability claims process by appealing the denial. Within sixty (60) days, plus five (5) days for mailing time, the disability applicant must file the appeal with the SSA.  This stage of the claims process is called the “Request for Reconsideration” stage.  This request is simply asking the SSA to reconsider your disability claim. Once this “Request for Reconsideration” is submitted by the Indiana disability applicant, the request for reconsideration goes back to the same state agency who denied the claim the first time, but a different examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) of the SSA reviews both the initial application and the “Request for Reconsideration”.  Once the disability examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) makes the reconsideration determination, the applicant will be informed by mail.  Unfortunately, statistically about 80% of the time the reconsideration decision is the same as the initial decision resulting in another denial. However, statistically about 20% of the time a claimant wins at the reconsideration level.  In most states, in Indiana, if you want to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits, you must go through the reconsideration appeals process. There is no way to avoid it. In a few states, the Social Security Administration has abolished reconsideration and you can file an immediate request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The denial notice from Social Security … Continued

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June 10, 2011

What Factors Can Impact Me Winning My Social Security Disability Claim?

While there are many factors that may have an influence on your chances of receiving a favorable outcome in your Indiana Social Security disability claim, Indianapolis disability Lawyer Scott D. Lewis finds a few factors always seem to stand out.  By no means are these the only areas you should be concerned with, but in Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience they usually play an important role in your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. The Social Security disability claimant’s medical records.  Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis strives to emphasize to his clients that the majority of successful Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims have a well documented medical record history.  If you believe the Social Security Administration (SSA) is going to just take your word on your disabling condition, you may be in for a big surprise when you receive your decision in the mail. How credible the disability claimant is.  In other words, are you telling the truth?  You can probably guess that the Social Security Administration has seen its share of individuals stretching the truth when it comes to how disabling their condition really is.  Indiana disability benefits attorney Scott Lewis attempts to tell all of his clients it is important to be truthful.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, in general, if the SSA or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) believes you are not being truthful about one thing, chances are they may not believe you on other aspects of your disability claim. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that is assigned to the disability claim.  This is a big one!  The amount of claims each individual judge approves varies and each ALJ’s approval rating is all over the board.  Some statistics state the average approval rating at the hearing level is … Continued

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June 6, 2011

Medications and your Social Security Disability Claim

Indiana Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants with their disability claim.  Often times, he will get asked by his disability clients if it is important for them to continue to take their medications prescribed by their treating physicians.  When Mr. Lewis discusses the claimant’s case, during the free consultation offered at his law office, he often shares with them the importance to continue to visit their treating physicians and the importance of the claimant to comply with the treating physician’s orders, including medications. As disability lawyer Scott Lewis explains the disability evaluation process to his potential clients, he also explains the importance of medical records and medication history.  When submitting records in support of the claimant’s disability claim, Mr. Lewis and his staff will  attempt to submit all medications prescribed by the client’s treating physician.  Many times, claimants will experience side effects with their medications.  These side effects may contribute to the claimant’s inability to work.  Side effects of some pain medications or other medications may include, but are not limited to: fatigue drowsiness nausea breathing impairment mental fogginess gastrointestinal effects decrease in reaction time These side effects may impact the claimant’s ability to engage in normal daily activities or one’s ability to persist in a work environment. Scott Lewis believes that if a disability claimant does not comply with their treating physician’s medication orders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny their disability claim.   In Mr. Lewis’ experience, it may be in the claimant’s best interest to take the medications that have been prescribed by their treating physician and take prescribed medication as instructed. The SSA will determine the severity of the disability and their ability to function while the claimant is medicated.  If the disability claimant fails to comply with their medication orders, the SSA may not be able to … Continued

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