Social Security Disability and Testifying at Your Hearing
Typically, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will conduct a hearing. During this hearing the Claimant will often testify. Other witnesses, such as a spouse, friend or child, can also testify on the Claimant’s behalf. I often have a family member testify so that the Claimant’s testimony is more credible.
The judge will also decide cases based on the medical evidence in the file - this includes x-rays and other imaging exams, lab panels, treatment notes, and written statements from the claimant and the claimant's treating physicians.
The Judge will ask questions about your education, work history, when you became disabled, how you became disabled, how your disability affects your daily life. The judge will ask questions about whether you can cook, clean, grocery shop, goto religious services, attend social functions and, if not, why?
If you are asked to testify before an ALJ, your responses to his/her questions should be honest and detailed, but not to the point of exaggeration. Clients all the time exaggerate their pain. Judges will never believe your pain is a 10 out of 10 because that means you should be in the hospital. If the judge does not believe you are credible in your testimony, the judge will beat you on your case. This is a time when you should avoid being modest about how your impairment(s) impact your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. For example, if your condition, or the pain resulting from your condition, limits your range of motion in a particular limb or joint, renders muscle weakness, or interferes with your ability to sit, stand, stoop, crouch, reach, grasp, or sleep for a long period of time, you should definitely make these limitations part of your testimony. Being modest about your medical condition is a mistake many claimants make at their hearing.
Our Michigan Social Security Attorneys have several hearings a week for our Michigan Social Security Disability clients. We are very prepared and help you prepare for your hearing. We prepare written briefs for the judges well in advanced of your hearing so the judge is familiar with your case. If you have any questions, feel free to contact an experience Oakland County Social Security Disability lawyer at Allan W. Ben P.C.