Your words matter at a Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income hearing. The way you answer questions and the information you offer can impact the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). My staff and I try to prepare each one of my clients for their day in court. Some of my clients listen to me carefully and some do not. This blog contains some of my experiences representing clients in thousands of disability hearings and is not intended as legal advice.
You have waited for what seems like forever to finally be heard in court. Chances are you have a lot to say, and you cannot wait to give the ALJ an earful about your disabilities. While this is common, you must remember the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the ALJ that hears your case has a very precise game plan for how they are going to analyze your case. For a seasoned disability lawyer, the questions are usually very predictable. If your attorney has experience with an ALJ, they can usually guide you through what is important and prepare you adequately.
In my experience, there are four broad areas that you may be asked about, but all ALJs can differ:
Your answers matter at a disability hearing. It is important to stay focused and on topic. As I stated earlier, there is a set series of questions the ALJ or your attorney are usually trying to get answered to show a finding of disability. Some things I see clients do to hurt their case is trying to avoid answering questions, talking excessively about things that are not pertinent to their case, being argumentative with the ALJ, and exaggerating their pain. Talking to an experienced attorney and following their advice may help you better understand what is most important in your Social Security Disability claim.
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Author: Scott Lewis