What to say at a disability hearing

What will I have to say at my hearing?

If is difficult to know exactly what to say at one's disability hearing because it all depends upon the questions the administrative law judge might have.

Obviously, if you are asked questions, you should answer them honestly. However, answer questions without exaggerating or diminishing your limitations or pain.

With regard to whether or not you will have to say anything, it is an unknown. Sometimes the judge is satisfied with the evidence contained within your disability claim; therefore, they may feel no need to question you. Or, the judge may give your representative an opportunity to present their interpretation of the evidence contained in your folder.

Also, there is a chance that you may have to answer questions posed by a vocational expert. If a judge is not sure of their decision, they may want more clarification from their expert.

If you are asked about your jobs

Again, do answer honestly, but describe your past jobs as your performed them. If you lifted heavy weight, walked, stooped etc., which is how you should describe it. The vocational expert uses the DOT description for your jobs; you may have performed them differently. Your description may help the judge rule out a past job. This is important because a vocational allowance requires that you be unable to perform any of your past work.

If your have representation, they should help prepare you for your hearing. Still, they cannot know what the judge might ask, so be prepared.


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About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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