It is normal to be nervous about your first disability hearing. Considering that disability applicants must put their personal lives on display at the hearing, we find that our clients are commonly anxious about what questions will be asked. At Keller & Keller, we are a “full-service” disability benefits law firm; meaning that we will be with you every step of the way, including the time before, at, and after the hearing. Our experienced attorneys take time to prepare clients for their hearing by reviewing and discussing case strategy months in advance of their hearing date. We want our clients to know what to expect and be prepared for any question that may arise.
4 Types of Questions to Expect at Your Social Security Hearing
In order to prove your disability to the Social Security Administration you must answer questions and provide evidence. Hearing questions can generally be grouped into 4 categories:
1. Basic Questions
You will be asked about your basic personal information. For example, you will be asked to provide your name, your current address, and your date of birth, to identify who lives with you, to state whether you have a driver's license and whether you drive, and to identify any sources of income you have. This could also include questions about taking care of other family or friends, whether you use drugs or alcohol, or have any criminal history.
2. Questions About Your Education and Work History
You will be asked to state the highest level of school you completed. You will be asked about any military service, vocational training, and certification programs. You will also be asked about the jobs you have worked in the last 15 years or so. Social Security will want to know the name of the job, the general duties of the job, and the physical demands at each job (especially how much you had to stand/walk and lift/carry).
3. Questions About Why You Are Disabled
You will be asked to describe the physical and mental health conditions you have and what symptoms you have from those conditions. It is very important to remember that the point of the hearing is to help Social Security understand how those conditions keep you from being able to work. You will be asked to provide examples of your physical and mental limitations: How long can you stand or walk? How much can you lift or carry? Do you have trouble focusing?
Social Security is very interested in descriptions of how your health problems limit your ability to perform work activities. Work activities might include physical actions such as standing, walking, lifting, carrying, using your hands or arms, or bending or moving in other ways. Work activities might also include mental actions such as concentrating, remembering, getting along with other people. If your conditions will cause you to take additional break periods or absences, you should be able to explain these needs.
Being able to provide measurements (such as feet or minutes) or frequencies (such as 2 times a week or 4 times a year) can also be helpful in describing your symptoms. You are the expert on what it is like to live inside your body, so the better you are able to describe your symptoms, the more it will help the Judge understand your limitations.
4. Questions About How You Spend a Typical Day
You may also be asked questions about your daily activities. There might be general questions about what you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed. There might be specific questions about taking care of yourself (dressing, bathing, cooking), taking care of your home (cleaning, shopping), or other common tasks.
Keller & Keller's Social Security Attorneys Are Here to Help
The majority of SSDI claims are denied the first time. Though this can be discouraging, working with an experienced SSDI attorney can help immensely. Keller & Keller will make sure you are prepared and are ready to walk this long and difficult road with you. Not only do your odds of approval increase when working with an attorney, but you have someone in your corner ready to file an immediate appeal. Call us today for a free consultation.