How to Answer Questions at a Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) Hearing: Part 2

Most disability appeal court hearing normally last under an hour and some can be very short as 15 minutes, so you can count on having no questions to answer for an extended time period.

It may be helpful to practice answering questions with your family member, friend, or attorney.  If you find yourself drifting from the topic of the questions, pause and take a deep breath until you able to refocus on your answer.  Just make sure you practice the questions with your attorney or get a copy of practice questions you are likely to encounter before the hearing date that way you can familiarize yourself with and practice them.

Be Specific and Clear About your Symptoms and Limitations

By giving specific answers to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will have a clear picture of your impairment?  For instance, if you suffer from back problems then the Judge will ask you to describe the pain, use descriptive words such as “tingling,” “shooting,” “aching,” “dull,” or “burning.”  Make sure you clearly describe the location of any pain that affect you from working.  That way it will help the Administrative Law Judge to know your symptoms are persistent will recognize symptoms of your medical condition, which can help your credibility.

Always be specific when describing your limitations and condition.  For instance, if the Administrative Law Judge asks you how long can you sit, don’t indicate “for just a little while,” just say for an hour or 30 minutes it depends on without pain I am unable to sit.  If the Judge asks are you able to drive short distances?  Answer the Judge question by saying “I can drive to my doctor’s office, which is about 4 miles away.”

Be Prepared to Explain Any Gaps in Your Medical History

Frequently a disability claimant will have periods of time when he or she received little or no medical treatment.  The Administrative Law Judge will ask the claimant about the gaps in care.  Always answer the question with honesty the reason why you did not seek treatment is due to not having medical insurance.  If your health condition improved during that time, it is better to state and explain this than give an untruthful answer because losing your credibility with the Judge can risk losing your disability claim.

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