November 21, 2011

Mental Disorders and Your Treating Physicians

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis talks to numerous clients about their mental condition(s) and finds that some of his clients may not be receiving the type of medical care they need in order to win their Social security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.  Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not put as much weight in all of the physicians you may be seeing because your medical professional may not specialize in a particular area. Mr. Lewis attempts to let all of his clients suffering from a mental condition that is preventing them from working to attempt to get appropriate medical treatment and that may be from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience a professional in the mental health field is usually more qualified to render a diagnosis that the Social Security Administration will recognize as legitimate when you are trying to get your benefits approved.  While your general practitioner may have a long history with you and may be very knowledgeable about your personal history, he/she may not possess the credentials needed to diagnose you with a mental disorder in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. It may be as simple as asking for a referral from your treating physician to get to a treating source the Social Security Administration will put stock in.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience many Administrative Law Judges like to see an ongoing therapist patient relationship documenting the progression of the mental illness.  There is usually no substitute for good medical records when stepping into the court room to address your Social Security disability appeal. Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis represents his Indiana neighbors with a wide variety of disabling conditions including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.  If you or someone you know … Continued

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October 31, 2011

How Long Will I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients often wonder how long they will receive these disability benefits.  Many SSDI or SSI claimants are under the assumption that their disability benefits will last until retirement age. Although many disability recipients will receive benefits until they reach the retirement age, this is not the case for everyone. For those individuals who do receive Social Security disability benefits until retirement age, Social Security disability benefits will not just stop altogether, but they will simply change from Social Security disability benefits to Social Security retirement benefits. On the other hand, there are some instances in which a disability recipient will have their disability benefits end prior to reaching the retirement age. The most common reasons for a stop in disability benefits are: improvement of one’s disabling condition, incarceration, or return to work. As stated above, improvement of someone’s condition is just one reason why the Social Security Administration (SSA) may revoke benefits.  The SSA reviews the SSDI or SSI claimant’s disability benefits on a regular basis. These reviews are called “Continuing Disability Reviews” and these reviews are given to everyone who receives disability benefits. The time between these reviews may depend on whether or not your condition is expected to improve. Benefits may be reviewed by the SSA anywhere from every 18 months to several years depending on your condition and your chances of improvement. Another reason the SSA may revoke disability benefits is incarceration.  If an individual who receives disability benefits ends up in prison or is put in jail for more than 30 days, it is likely the disability benefits will stop. However, incarceration does not permanently end an individual’s disability benefits. When the individual gets out of jail, it is possible to this individual to get their SSDI or SSI benefits reinstated. One misconception people have is that going back to work automatically disqualify a person from receiving Social Security disability … Continued

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October 25, 2011

Time Limits When Appealing Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

When Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis finds out someone has been denied their Social Security disability benefits, one of the first things he asks them is what is the date on their denial letter.  The date on denial letters received from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can play an important part in the processing of a Social Security disability appeal.  This may be the difference between a valid ongoing disability claim and a claim that needs to be refiled in order to pursue your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you find that you have been denied it is important to note the date of the denial letter.  You have sixty (60) days to file a “Request for Reconsideration” or “Request for a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge”.  The Social Security Administration does allow additional days for mailing.  If you are unable to make this important deadline, the Social Security Administration may allow a late submission or untimely filing if you have a valid reason for turning the required paperwork in late.  Attorney Scott Lewis advises his client not to count on an untimely filing to be accepted, and as long as the Indiana Social Security disability process can take there is usually no benefits to drag your feet when appealing a denial. Indianapolis disability appeals attorney Scott D. Lewis attempts to keep his Indiana Social Security disability clients aware of how important it is to stay on top of important dates and time constraints. Mr. Lewis encourages his clients to call his office to make sure the appropriate paperwork has been received through the mail.  Mr. Lewis knows how important your disability claim is to you and your family when resources are scarce and bills are piling up.  If you or someone you know is … Continued

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October 20, 2011

Consultative Examinations and Your Social Security Disability Benefits

Scott Lewis is an Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer who is experienced in helping individuals in obtaining the Social Security disability benefits they deserve.  Mr. Lewis has also read the results and talked to his Indiana disability clients about consultative examinations.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses consultative examinations when they determine there is either not enough supportive information from your treating physician(s) or you simply do not have a physician to provide information to support your disability claim. A consultative examination (CE) is an examination covering psychiatric, psychological, or physical impairments.  The consultative examination is conducted by medical professionals contracted by the government to provide information regarding the severity of the disabling condition the claimant has asserted as a mental or physical impairment. Indiana disability attorney Scott Lewis fields many questions from his clients about these consultative examinations.  Many individuals ask Mr. Lewis if it is mandatory that they attend the examinations.  Mr. Lewis often tells his clients that not attending a consultative examination could result in denial of the disability claim.  Active participation in the disability process when you are asked to help move the process along may help you receive a favorable outcome.  If you cannot attend your consultative examination, let the Social Security Administration know so it can be rescheduled at a time more convenient for you. There can be drawbacks to relying on a consultative examination for an approval of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.  These examinations are usually very brief.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, they are not a good substitute for a long standing relationship with a treating physician.  You also must remember a consultative examination is usually a single appointment by a physician who has never seen you before.  Obviously this is probably not a good … Continued

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October 13, 2011

Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Do you really need a disability lawyer when applying for Social Security disability benefits?  Indiana disability claimants may become overwhelmed by the Social Security disability application process. According to Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis, this isn’t very surprising when considering how frustrating the process may be.  Although everyone’s disability case is unique, some common frustrations may develop from claimants having a legitimate claim denied, individuals waiting years for their benefits to be approved, or possibly feeling as though they are treated unfairly during the appeal process.  Many individuals wonder whether or not they should hire a disability lawyer to help with the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application process.  There are some factors that you may want to consider when deciding whether or not you need to retain an attorney for your disability claim. Majority of disability applicants are denied at the initial application stage. Those individuals who have been denied may become completely overwhelmed by the Social Security disability application process.  As a result, they find it necessary to hire a disability lawyer or representative so they do not have to face the appeals process alone. Once an individual has been denied SSDI or SSI benefits, the need for representation might be considered. It may be beneficial to hire a Social Security attorney to represent you through the appeals process.  Some statistics show that disability claimants who have legal representation at the appeals stage are often more successful in being approved for benefits than those who decide to go on without representation.  Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis believes that you are entitled to a fair hearing and strives to ask all of the questions you should be asked during this process. Mr. Lewis attempts to be aware of the Social Security disability regulations that may be beneficial in your claim being approved. If you are an individual that decides to hire a Social Security disability lawyer, you may worry about the … Continued

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September 24, 2011

Leukemia and Indiana Social Security Disability Benefits

Are you an individual suffering from chronic or acute leukemia and cannot work because of this disease?  Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects more than 40,000 people per year.  Currently, there is no cure for leukemia. Leukemia occurs when blood cells in the bone marrow grow out of control. Leukemia usually starts with some common symptoms such as: prolonged bleeding, bruising, weakness, weight loss, infections, or pain & swelling in your joints. The earlier leukemia is detected, the more likely it can be treated effectively.  This cancer is highly dangerous, but also highly treatable. Some treatments may include: chemotherapy; radiation therapy; other kinds of drug therapy; and stem cell transplants. Being diagnosed with leukemia can possibly mean a major lifestyle change. Although treatments of these cancers are highly effective and can allow those individuals diagnosed with this cancer to still enjoy a good quality of life, they do not cure the cancer and often leave many side effects that may significantly reduce the quality of life for those who suffer from the disease. If you have been diagnosed with leukemia and are unable to work because of it, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments” outlines the criteria that qualifies an individual with leukemia for disability benefits. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you should provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) medical proof of your condition supported by doctor’s exams, imaging technology, blood tests, etc. In addition, if this information also includes statements from your physician(s) asserting that you are unable to work because of your leukemia, it may be beneficial in winning your claim. Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis realizes that dealing with a diagnosis of cancer may be difficult enough, but dealing with financial problems because you can’t work due to this diagnosis … Continued

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August 16, 2011

Digestive Disorders and Social Security Disability Claims

Many individuals suffering from a digestive disorder find that this disorder can take them away from work indefinitely. Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis assists individuals with digestive disorders with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.  The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) “Listing of Impairments” addresses the criteria for a variety of digestive system disorders in section 5.00 Digestive System.  Specifically, the following digestive orders can be found under this listing: 5.02 Gastroinntestinal hemorrhaging from any cause, requiring blood transfusion 5.05 Chronic Liver Disease 5.06 Imflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) 5.07 Short Bowel Sydrome (SBS) 5.08 Weight Loss due to any digestive disorder 5.09 Liver transplant Meeting the Listings for digestive disorders may be very difficult. However, individuals may also be awarded SSDI or SSI benefits if they suffer from a combination of health problems while they do not meet the listing, in combination prevent them from being able to perform substantial gainful employment. The “Listings of Impairments” are designed to award Social Security disability benefits to disability claimants who are clearly severely ill.  The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a hearing can determine that a person, while not meeting a specific disability listing, has health problems severe enough to award the claimant disability benefits. Individuals suffering from a digestive disorder may experience the following symptoms or side effects: Development of allergies due to compromised immunity Abdominal pain Indigetion Heartburn Difficulty swallowing Diarhhea or constipation Chest pain Fatigue Bladder or bowel changes Unexplained weight loss Bloating and painful gas Nausea and vomiting Weakened immune system As stated above, being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a digestive disorder may be difficult. In order to successfully win your claim, it’s important to prove to the SSA what is wrong with you and how the digestive disorder negatively affects your daily life. In … 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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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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December 21, 2010

How Do Resources Affect My Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim?

Indianapolis Social Security lawyer Scott D. Lewis usually advises his clients to apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when filing their initial application.  Mr. Lewis believes it is important to apply for both programs because if you are not eligible for one program the other program may be right for you.  Indiana disability claimants should be aware; however, the criteria is different for the two programs.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program will look at an individual’s resources to determine if they qualify financially and how much their monthly benefit might be. Why does the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program care about your resources?  Resources are just one of the factors to figure out whether you are eligible for the benefits.  Indiana disability claimants need to know there is a limit for countable resources.  At the current time it is $2,000 for an individual and is $3,000 for a couple.  Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Scott Lewis lets his clients know they will be asked various questions about their resources by the Indiana Social Security Administration (SSA). What does the Social Security Administration (SSA) consider resources?  This is not limited to, but can include things like: life insurance land personal property cash items that can be changed to cash for food and shelter vehicles There is also something called “deemed” resources. This can be some of the resources of a spouse, parent’s spouse, and parent, just to name a few. If you find you have not worked long enough to be awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program may be the right fit for you.  If you have questions concerning your Indiana Social Security benefits call Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free case evaluation.  You can protect … Continued

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