August 19, 2011

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyers May Be Able to Give You A Good Idea Of What To Expect At Your Appeals Hearing

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis believes one of the most important aspects of his job is to advise his clients as to what they can expect during a Social Security disability hearing.  While Social Security Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) may have varying formats in the way they run the hearings, a general theme usually guides their line of questioning.

Disability lawyer Scott Lewis finds the questioning generally falls into three categories and these include:

  • General questions
  • Job related questions
  • Medical questions

General questions most likely the easiest questions for the claimant to answer.  Questions concerning your name, address, age, marital status, number of children you have,  height, weight, right or left handed, and even the type of home you live in.  Why does the Social Security Administration care about these things?  Remember, the facts always matter.  If you testify you are unable to take care of yourself, but also testify you have three young children you care for, the Judge may not put as much weight into the testimony that you are unable to care of yourself.  Sound fair? Maybe not, but it is important to remember there is usually a legitimate reason for every question you are being asked.

As for job related questions, usually the Social Security Administrations is only concerned with jobs you performed over the last fifteen years that lasted over three months.  Okay, so now you’re thinking, “I have had so many jobs that it’s going to be hard to remember one I performed fifteen years ago.”  Well, the judge at your hearing may have a printout of your past occupations and through a line of questioning can usually help you remember your past relevant employment.  Also, at some hearings a vocational expert or “job expert” may be present and possibly has already examined your job history to determine relevant employment.  The reason the judge is concerned with your past employment is to determine whether you can return to that line of work with your disabilities.

Medical related questions is the big one and it usually dominates the amount of time spent on questioning at your hearing; exactly how your physical or mental impairments prevent you from working your past jobs or any other jobs in the economy.  These questions can include, but are not limited to, who your treating physician(s) are and what kind of treatment you are receiving.  Questioning may also include things such as how your physical condition puts restrictions on your ability to stand, sit, walk, lift, use your hands and/or legs for repetitive actions, and also the effect of pain which may reduce your ability to focus and concentrate on job related tasks.  Questions concerning a mental disability may include your inability to leave the home, inability to focus or concentrate, and extreme fatigue, among other questions.  Remember, there are two parts to every Social Security disability hearing: medical records and your testimony.

The above information is the experience of Indiana Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis and other attorneys or representatives may have different views concerning these topics, but in Mr. Lewis’ experience these are the three general areas covered at Social Security disability hearings.  It should also be noted that not all judges conduct hearings in the same manner; some may skip certain areas or add other questioning.  Disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes being prepared for the line of questioning you may receive at your hearing is the best way to avoid any surprises you may encounter on your hearing day.

If you have an upcoming Social Security disability hearing or you simply would like to discuss your initial Social Security disability claim, contact Mr. Lewis for a free case evaluation. Indianapolis disability lawyer Scott Lewis is an experienced disability attorney providing legal representation for disabilities such as back pain, heart disease, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and many other conditions.

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