I have a whole booklet about preparing your case for a Social Security disability hearing (you can download a pdf of the booklet for free). This post concerns preparing your testimony for the disability hearing.
You should expect to testify at your hearing, and that testimony can be critically important to your claim. One of the tasks of a disability lawyer is to prepare you to testify. That does not mean telling you what to say at your hearing. But preparation does often include things you should not say. Here are two examples:
- The answer to the question "Why can't you work?" should never be: "Because no one will hire me." I hear this all the time. But "No one will hire me" is not a basis for disability. Working with clients over the years, I have learned that when they say "No one will hire me," it is almost always a shorthand way of saying "No one will hire me because I cannot do the job as required." So, a much better answer for the hearing is: "I cannot work because I am unable to ___."
- In appropriate cases I counsel clients when talking about daily activities to make the point that what they do on a given day depends upon how they are feeling that day, and to make clear that daily activities are sporadic, depending upon symptoms. Judges often inquire about daily activities in an effort to infer a claimant's limitations and abilities. You do not want the judge reach a false conclusion about what you are able to do. Remind the judge that your daily activities depend upon how you are feeling.
Time with a client going over these issues is always well spent, and is an important benefit of local representation.
Get help with your disability claim
If you are considering an application for Social Security disability benefits, or have already applied and want assistance with your claim, please contact Gordon Gates.