After being denied a Social Security disability claim and a Request for Reconsideration (“appeal”), your next step could be a hearing in front of a Social Security administrative law judge. Although no one seeking these benefits wants to end up in court, being prepared for questions asked in these hearings makes a big difference. To determine whether or not your condition meets the SSA’s definition of disability the court asks specific questions, so even the most basic has a purpose.
Prep Questions for Your Social Security Disability Hearing
No doubt the idea of a hearing makes you nervous. Knowing what to expect improves your chances of success. Understanding the questions you might face represents much of the preparation for a hearing. It is guaranteed that your name, Social Security number, age, mailing address, height and weight will be required. Also, a judge might ask some of the following questions:
Questions about your background:
- Do you have any formal education?
- Have you participated in vocational training?
- What was your last job? What responsibilities did the job require?
- In the past 15 years where else have you worked? What responsibilities did those jobs require?
Questions about your current work situation:
- Are you working now?
- If so, have you had issues getting along with supervisors, co-workers, clients or customers?
- Has there been a time since you became disabled that you’ve tried to work?
- Does your disability impact your daily activities? If so, how?
- How does your disability impact your ability to care for yourself?
Questions about your disability and treatment:
- Tell us about your diagnosis.
- What treatments have been tried?
- Are there side effects from treatment?
Questions about your physical abilities:
- For what amount of time can you stand, walk, or sit without needing a break? / How often do you need to take breaks from activity?
- How much weight can you lift?
- Have you experienced issues with your memory or concentration?
The judge may add qualifiers, such as “occasionally” or “less than occasionally”, to these questions. Your attorney can provide guidance about what those actually mean, like “occasionally” can mean up to 1/3 of an actual workday. However, it’s best to ask for clarification from the hearing officer.
Also, mobility questions can be somewhat general. An appropriate response would be to ask “with or without discomfort”. Otherwise, the judge assumes you have the ability to perform this action without discomfort. This could hurt your case.
All of this to say, precision is key to giving the best answers to these questions.
Hire an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney
All of the details to remember can be overwhelming, which isn’t an unexpected response. Hiring an experienced social security disability lawyer removes much of the stress. They help you understand the purpose of each question, which prepares you for the hearing and guides you to provide truthful responses to assist your case.
If you find yourself facing a hearing in front of a Social Security administrative law judge, call the attorneys of Wykoff & Sikes right away. Start the process today by contacting us via the website or by phone at (865)320-9444.