Only about 10% of claims are approved in the initial phases. Most people who are approved for disability benefits must go to a Social Security disability hearing. While this can seem intimidating, this is your best chance of getting approved.
The first thing we want you to know is that the hearing isn’t as stressfull as you are probably imagining. It will take place in a small conference room where you, your attorney, and the judge will be sitting around a conference table. Many people have the idea that since they have an attorney there they won’t need to speak much. This is not the case. The judge is trying to get to know YOU and as such he will be asking you questions directly. There will be time for your attorney to advocate on your behalf but that is typically after the judge has asked you questions.
We have compiled our top 4 tips to testifying at your Social Security Disability Hearing.
The most important aspect of your testimony is maintaining your credibility. If the judge thinks you are exaggerating your lying about your conditions nothing you say will matter. While it is important to be thorough when explaining how your conditions are affecting you, do so without any embellishments. For example, our attorney was recently at a hearing when the judge asked the claimant to rate their current pain on a scale from 1-10. The claimant said his pain was at a 10. The judge clarified that a 10 means you are in so much pain that you should be in an emergency room. The claimant still stood his ground that it was a 10. From there on out the judge did not believe the claimant’s testimony and they were denied for benefits.
Don’t do any Play-Acting for the Judge-
This goes along with being truthful. Don’t pretend to cry or act like you are in more pain than you are. Again, this will make the judge question your credibility which can cause you to lose your case. The judge has seen your medical records and your diagnoses. He knows how your conditions are likely affecting you. Pretending they are affecting you in ways they aren’t will not win you benefits.
If you don’t remember the exact dates, don’t worry
Most people can’t remember the exact date you were disabled. The judge has your medical records with all the dates they need so don’t try to make up a date if you can’t remember. Try to remember an approximate date whether that’s a month, a season, or even a year instead.
Each room has recording equipment so the judge can listen back on the hearing. Mumbling or speaking softly can make it impossible for the judge to hear anything when he plays back the hearing. The microphones are sensitive enough that you don’t need to yell or speak louder than you normally would. Also remember that your judge will not have a video recording so answer everything verbally, the microphone can’t pick up a nod or you pointing to a body part.
Hire a Utah Social Security Attorney
Having a disability attorney with you at your hearing can dramatically increase your chances of being approved. Your attorney will have read your medical records and will be able to advocate on your behalf. They will also gather any evidence you will need for the hearing to ensure you have the best possible chance of being approved for disability benefits. If you decide to go with our office you will not need to pay us anything up front. We will only accept a fee if we are able to get you benefits. We will also pay for your medical records for you and never ask you to repay us. Call today for your free evaluation.