Generally, during a Social Security Disability Appeals hearing the only people present are the judge, a court reporter who types what is being said, the claimant (you) and if you are represented, your attorney. It’s also common for the Administrative Law Judge to request that a vocational expert and/or a medical expert testify at the hearing.
Typically the judge will ask questions in order to better understand your case and obtain the required information to determine if you meet Social Security’s definition of disability.
For the most part the questions you are asked by the judge will fall into four categories:
The judge will ask you questions about your education, who you live with and where you live. Basically, the simple questions that you shouldn’t generally have to think twice about.
You will be asked about your work history from fifteen years prior to your alleged onset date up to the last job you held. You should be able to briefly explain:
- Where you worked
- What you did on a daily basis
- What you were responsible for doing
- Was the job was a physical job
- Did you spend most of the day sitting down/standing up
- Did you interacted with customers or the general public
- What if anything you were responsible for lifting
If you have any earnings since your alleged onset date you may be asked to explain what this money is for.
Obviously you will be asked many questions about your disabilities and how they affect you on a daily basis. You will be asked things such as:
- What doctors you have seen
- How often you visit the doctor
- What medications you’ve been prescribed
- What body parts are affected
- How often you are in pain
- How often you feel the side effects of your disability
- What causes your pain or symptoms to get better or worse
- Does the medication helps your problems
- Does the medication has side effects
- Have ever been hospitalized
You should also be prepared to explain any gap in medical treatment (for instance if you no longer had medical coverage).
This may be the most important portion of the hearing because it gives the judge an idea about into how you are affected on a daily basis by your disabilities. It gives them insight into what your limitations are. It’s important to make sure the judge understands your limitations and how your disability prevents you from doing daily activities.
The judge will ask questions such as:
- What your typical day consists of
- What you do from when you wake up in the morning until when you go to bed at night
- What chores you are able to do
- Can you drive
- Can you go out by yourself
- Can you cook/shop/do laundry, etc.
If you have been denied social security benefits or believe you’re entitled to benefits, contact our Social Security Attorney Michael Pisanchyn and the Pennsylvania SSI/SSD attorneys at the Pisanchyn Law Firm immediately so that we can discuss your case in detail. Call toll free 1-800-444-5309 for a free consultation. We have offices in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg and will travel to you.