Disability hearings can be intimidating affairs. Most claimants have never been inside of a courtroom and have no idea to what to expect.
Even if you have been to court before, disability hearings can be very different experiences.
Still, these are some of the questions you can expect will come up at your hearing.
· Why did you stop working?
While your medical records will give the administration law judge an idea of your conditions, it’s often not clear exactly which symptoms caused you to stop working. This gives the judge a good idea of your physical or mental limitations.
In addition, some people apply for disability in part because they were fired and couldn’t find another job. While this doesn’t automatically result in a denial (especially in over 50 cases where past job skills and future prospects are taken into account), it’s still something that a judge will want to know about.
· How long can you stand/walk/sit?
From medical records and your testimony, the judge is trying to get an understanding of what type of work you might be physically capable of. This is an especially important question, as a claimant who cannot sit or stand for very long cannot perform any jobs.
· Why haven’t you treated more?
To receive disability benefits, you must show that you suffer from an impairment or combination of impairments lasting at least 12 months or expected to result in death. If you’ve only gone to the doctor a few times in a year, a judge isn’t likely to award your case. However, this is an opportunity to explain something like lack of insurance coverage, which could help sway his decision.
· How do you spend your days?
This is another question that gives the judge a good idea of your limitations. A claimant who says she rarely gets off the couch or out of bed due to chronic pain, and who has the treatment records to back it up, is going to sound more credible to the judge. However, if someone alleges disability due to chronic pain and says they spend most of the day doing chores around the house, a judge is likely going to deny their case.