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Hearing Testimony: Tips and Tricks

When an individual is denied social security benefits at initial and reconsideration, their case is then set for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Having to attend a hearing is very common. In fact, a hearing is set in majority of social security disability cases. Hearings help a judge understand how disabling an individual’s physical and/or mental conditions are. At the hearing, most judges will directly question the individual before their attorney has a chance to question them. Basically, the judge wants to understand how these conditions affect the individual’s ability to work. Many judges will start off by asking the individual the all-encompassing question of: “In your own words, what prevents you from working at this time?” It is important to be detailed with the symptoms of your diagnosis that affect your ability to work, however stay away from just listing diagnosis. For example, an individual should not just say “I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia” Instead, saying something along the lines of “the constant aching pain in my shoulders, neck, and back cause me to have issues with sitting/standing/walking as well as cause me fatigue throughout the day” is more helpful. Remember, the judge has access to all of the medical records prior to the hearing so he/she will be aware of the all of the specific diagnosis. Therefore, what the judge really wants to know is how these diagnosis affect the person’s everyday life as well as their ability to work a full-time job. The judge may also ask several questions regarding the individual’s ability to do chores, sit, stand, walk, and lift. The judge may also have questions regarding an individuals ongoing treatment. For these questions, it is important to not exaggerate, but to be truthful. Overall, the questions asked will differ in each case and an experienced attorney will be able to advise and prepare an individual for their hearing.

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