An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can make a difference in your case. That attorney can help guide your case and you through thousands of statutes, regulations, rulings, and court decisions, all of which are important in helping win your case. The attorney can also help personalize your case so that the government can better understand why you are no longer able to work. The attorney can also help ease the normal fears of going through the appeal process by helping familiarize you with the system and alerting you to important matters that require your attention.
The same process applies to any person who is filling for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits. What is different about the process is you! Your medical condition, which causes you to be disabled, uniquely affects you. A Social Security Disability attorney can help make your case different from the other cases.
I have spent most of my legal career representing the injured, sick, and disabled as a Social Security Disability attorney serving Indianapolis and other communities in Indiana. I care deeply about making certain that a person’s disability case is presented to the government persuasively. I work closely with my clients throughout the administrative disability appeal process. I meet with each client personally, well in advance of the hearing date. Together, we review medical records, note which records are missing, and obtain those records. My clients and I identify medical witnesses along with family and friends who can help with the case by documenting their observations. Once we identify witnesses, I contact those persons to ask them for assistance. I discuss with my clients the regulations that most affect their cases. I answer questions about the process. I return calls and emails from clients during the appeal process. In each case, I prepare a pre-hearing brief and submit that brief to the judge so that the judge will be aware of the medical facts and limitations that cause my client to be disabled. If the decision is unfavorable, I do not walk away from my client; I help the client appeal.
Social Security is a federal benefits program governed by the Social Security Act. It is intended to benefit people who become disabled and cannot work for at least a year. A claimant generally must have paid enough into the system through payroll taxes to be eligible for benefits. To get benefits, you must be unable to work due to a medical condition that is expected to last for at least a year or that is anticipated to result in death. Sometimes dependents also can obtain benefits. A Social Security Disability attorney can advise Indianapolis residents on the strength of their claim and gather the evidence needed to prove eligibility.Social Security Disability Appeals
Unfortunately, many deserving claimants receive a denial of their initial claim. If you were denied SSDI benefits, you can appeal. You have 60 days after getting notice of an adverse decision to appeal. If you wait for more than 60 days to ask for an appeal, you will need to explain why you are late and request an extension. The first level of appeal is a request for reconsideration. If you receive another denial at that stage, you can ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Additional levels of appeal involve review by the Appeals Council and potentially review by a federal court.Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can be debilitating. They can include diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever, as well as perineal disease and vomiting. Sometimes malnutrition arises as a result of inflammatory bowel disease. There may be manifestations in the liver. The SSA considers two main inflammatory bowel diseases as potential disabilities: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. An Indianapolis Social Security Disability lawyer can help a claimant seek benefits based on inflammatory bowel disease.Fibromyalgia
Widespread pain is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia, and it can be debilitating. The American College of Rheumatology has specific criteria that must be met to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis. When a worker has severe fibromyalgia, this may form a basis for obtaining SSDI benefits. It is critical for claimants with fibromyalgia to follow a doctor’s orders for treatment. Often, claims that involve fibromyalgia are won only after one or more stages of appeals.Schizophrenia
Around 1% of Americans have schizophrenia, a serious brain disorder. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, movement disorder, and disorganized thinking. Sometimes people with schizophrenia require help with everyday tasks or neglect their basic hygiene. A significant number of schizophrenic people cannot work and must apply for SSDI.Migraines
Migraines can be acutely painful. Unlike ordinary headaches, they are often accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and auras, and they may last for hours. People with severe migraines often need to lie down and wait for the pain to pass. It can be more challenging to obtain SSDI benefits based on a migraine diagnosis than it is with some types of disabilities. The SSA requires lab findings or clinical signs to support a migraine finding. An Indianapolis Social Security Disability attorney can help a claimant present this evidence.Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the spinal cord and brain. It damages the protection around the nerves and results in a slowing or complete stoppage of signals passed between the brain and the remainder of the body. The signal interference can result in visual disturbance, muscle weakness, coordination and balance difficulties, pins and needles, and memory and thinking issues. Multiple sclerosis is recognized as a neurological impairment that can qualify as a disability if a claimant can meet the criteria set forth under Listing 11.09.Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is considered a neurological disorder. It involves periods of extreme sleepiness during the day and unpredictable and irresistible episodes of sleep. Narcolepsy is not listed as a medical condition that can serve as a basis for benefits without consideration of the education, age, and work experience of a claimant. The Commissioner’s policy in the Program Operations Manual System sets forth a program to follow to show that a condition of narcolepsy can equal Listing 11.03, which addresses epilepsy. A Social Security Disability attorney in Indianapolis will need to show that the condition is severe to obtain SSDI for narcolepsy.Obesity
Obesity is distinct from being overweight. The National Institute of Health provides that obesity involves an excess of body fat. SSR-02-1p guides an evaluation of obesity. The SSA can diagnose obesity even when there is no diagnosis by a doctor. However, it needs to comply with the Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults that are established and published by the NIH. A five-step sequential evaluation process is used to determine eligibility for benefits.Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome involves severe fatigue that is not due to physical exertion and that cannot be relieved by resting. The SSA has issued SSR 14-1p to clarify how it evaluates whether chronic fatigue syndrome should count as a disability for SSDI purposes. A doctor must clinically evaluate the chronic fatigue. It needs to be either relapsing or persistent, rather than lifelong. It should involve a reduction of prior degrees of functioning. It needs to involve post-exertional malaise that lasts for more than 24 hours.Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder
Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are mood disorders that can be so severe that they interfere with the ability to work. Someone with serious symptoms that interfere with the ability to enjoy life, eat, study, sleep, and work may have major depression. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that triggers unusual mood shifts and energy shifts that affect activity levels and the capacity to carry out daily tasks. The criteria used to determine whether major depressive disorder qualifies as a disability are found in Listing 12.04. A Social Security Disability lawyer in Indianapolis can help you pursue benefits if you meet the criteria.Blindness
Under Listing 2.02, to qualify for disability benefits for blindness, your central vision acuity must be 20/200 or less in your better eye with the use of a correcting lens. There is an alternative definition that involves an evaluation of degree of vision. Someone with sight issues might not identify as blind but might instead specify diabetic neuropathy or glaucoma. These indicators should tip off the SSA staff that there is potential blindness.Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is listed as a disease or condition that can qualify as a disability. The organ most vulnerable to cystic fibrosis is the lungs. Therefore, cystic fibrosis is grouped with other pulmonary conditions in the Social Security listings. If you have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and you suffer from the disease at a certain level of severity, you can be awarded disability benefits. The SSA requires you to medically meet one of the six instances of severe cystic fibrosis set forth under Social Security Listing 3.04 for cystic fibrosis.Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis involves a serious, chronic inflammation of the bladder. Symptoms can include a frequent urge to urinate and pain while having sex. Its precise cause is not known, and it is incurable. It often coincides with the conditions of fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. While a positive cystoscopy alone cannot establish interstitial cystitis, it can be part of establishing the condition. A Social Security Disability attorney in Indianapolis will need to show that your interstitial cystitis rises to the level of a medically determinable impairment.Epilepsy
Epilepsy is recognized as a medical condition that can render someone unable to work. If you meet or equal the criteria provided under Listing 11.02 for epilepsy, you will be found presumptively disabled. You must have been diagnosed with either dyscognitive seizures or generalized tonic-clonic seizures, you must have these seizures at a certain frequency, and you must be receiving treatment for the seizures. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are sometimes known as grand mal seizures. Dyscognitive seizures are non-convulsive.Immune System Disorders
The immune system is supposed to defend the body against threats. Unfortunately, it can suffer from certain disorders. This can injure the body through an overreaction to harmless external stimuli. If the immune system attacks the body, the person may turn sick and disabled, or may even die. Accordingly, the SSA recognizes immune system disorders as medically determinable impairments. The Commissioner’s requirements to prove a disability related to an immune system disorder are set forth under Listing 14.00.Consult an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer in the Indianapolis Area
When good people find themselves unable to work, to support their families, and to pay their bills as they once did, they sometimes feel as if their whole world is closing in on them. I understand that. That is why for the last 35 years, I have fought on behalf of injured, sick, and disabled people to help them get the benefits to which they are entitled. Call (765) 644-8410 or contact me through this website and let me know when is a good time to meet.
Indianapolis Social Security Disability Lawyer | Indiana Disability Claim Attorney | Ted Smith
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