Answering Questions During a Social Security Disability Hearing

If you are facing an upcoming Social Security disability hearing, you might be feeling some anxiety about what the process will be like. It is important to remember that a Social Security disability hearing is unlike a formal civil or criminal court proceeding and is not designed to be frightening or nerve-wracking. It is best to consult a Hartford Social Security disability attorney for advice about your case. He or she can offer encouragement with regard to how to handle the various questions that may be asked by the administrative judge.

First, try to avoid asserting your good character or propensity to do the right thing. While these are positive virtues, they are of little relevance to the determination of medical disability and your eligibility for benefits. In fact, by reiterating to the judge that you are a good person of high moral character, you may inadvertently come across as one trying to influence the judge into making a certain decision in your favor.

Along the same guidelines, avoiding explaining to the judge your propensity for honesty and truthfulness. Of course, honesty is expected in any Social Security disability hearing. If a claimant is constantly reminding the judge that he does not tell lies and can be believed, it may raise red flags for the judge that the claimant is lying or, at a minimum, stretching the truth. Your honesty will shine through in your testimony.

Avoid dramatic responses, extraneous language and emotions as these have no place in an administrative hearing. Judges notoriously disfavor particularly theatrical responses to routine questions. These types of responses will assuredly not work in your favor. It is best to answer each question succinctly and honestly. It is understandable that many disabilities are emotional and extremely painful. However, you will be more likely to reach your goal of benefits eligibility by avoiding melodramatics in the hearing.

Lastly, we urge you to avoid irrelevant testimony when giving responses in the administrative hearing. As any Hartford Social Security disability attorney will explain, the following testimony is considered irrelevant under current Social Security Administration guidelines:

  • Testimony regarding the claimant’s inability to find work, including information pertaining to the lack of employment opportunities in the claimant’s geographical area;
  • Testimony regarding the hiring practices of potential employers;
  • Testimony regarding recent changes in the technology used in the claimant’s particular field;
  • Evidence regarding current economic conditions, lack of job openings, an inability to get hired or a claimant’s personal preferences with regard to employment locations.

If you would like more information about Social Security disability benefits and how the hearing process works, give Hartford Social Security disability attorney Michael F. Magistrali a call today.