Questions to Expect at Your Social Security Hearing
While TV shows and dramatic legal movie make for riveting entertainment, the reality of the legal system is usually much more tame. That is perhaps never more clear than when working through an actual hearing after applying for Social Security Disability. Far from the rows of seats with journalists, intimidating witness stand, and other staples of dramatic entertainment, the actual hearings for these matters are more informal and (hopefully) less intimidating. In most cases the hearing will only include the judge (an “administrative law judge”), you, your attorney, and often some witness–like medical expert. What will happen? Essentially the hearing will mostly consist of a lot of questions and answers. You will likely talk more than anyone, explaining your situation. Questions will be asked by your own social security disability attorney to better inform the judge of your situation. The judge will also ask questions that will better answer uncertainties that he or she still might have. Ultimately, the entire purpose is to clarify whether you do or do not meet the definition for disability to qualify for benefits. What will be asked? Many different details will be fleshed out. To start, there will likely be questioning about basic background details, i.e. living situation, education, and similar matters. This will eventually involve discussion of your work history. The questioning may be detailed, analyzing your work history for the last fifteen years or more, if applicable. This means that you should be prepared to indicate where you worked and your duties. The judge will want to know what responsibilities you had, if manual labor was involved, who you interacted with, and similar details. On top of that you will be asked about your medical condition. This seems obvious, and you'll be expected to explain the injury you've suffered. Questions will be asked about treatments, medications, doctor visits, pain, side effects, and similar details. You will share information about the prognosis and long-term plan. If there were “gaps” in treatment, that also might be explored. For example, if there was a period where you did not receive support, the judge will want to know why. If there is a medical witness, they will supplement the information that you share and provide more expert feedback to hep inform the judge of the situation. Finally, one of the more critical lines of questions will relate to your life now, post injury. The judge will attempt to analyze your limitations and understand how they do or do not impact your usual routine. More than likely, it is at this point when you may be tempted to exaggerate or be less than forthcoming in an effort to position yourself as well as possible to receive benefits. But it is critical to remember that you need to be honest at all times. These judge are well versed in these matters and can usually spot deceit or hidden truth whenever one attempts to be less than forthcoming. Legal Help It is important to remember that you do not have to go it alone. At the end of the day a legal professional can properly prepare you for these hearings and answer any questions you might have about what will happen. For help in Atlanta or nearby communities, please contact the experienced attorney at our firm to see how we can help.