If your SSD benefits are denied, you should request an appeal with a skilled disability benefits lawyer, which will require a a hearing. At a hearing, you and your lawyer will be communicating with an Administrative Law Judge (or ALJ) to support your case.
You must do this alongside an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer for your best chance at being approved for benefits.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you questions that you must answer carefully. You must know what to expect when speaking with a judge and how to approach it. An experienced disability benefits attorney will fully prepare you for your hearing and be by your side the entire time.
Here are a few common questions you can expect a judge asks at a hearing, as well as important tips to keep in mind.
“Are you taking your medication as prescribed?”
Your medical records will show your prescription medications, and you must answer this question honestly. This should be disclosed if you stopped taking your medications, perhaps due to an adverse reaction or side effect. You also should mention if you are receiving prescriptions from more than one doctor.
“What kinds of activities do you do?”
You should recall what activities you do every day, from making your bed to running errands. Next, you must mention the limitations you experience when doing your activities and the assistance you need. Finally, you should explain how differently doing these activities is now compared to before you became disabled.
“Can you drive?”
Being disabled does not automatically mean you can’t drive. It is okay to mention that you drive. If you don’t drive due to your disability or impairment, you should tell the judge.
“Why can’t you work?”
If you can’t work due to a physical disability such as walking, standing, or lifting items, you should disclose this to the judge. Likewise, if you have a mental impairment, you should tell the judge and mention the hardship you face as a result. For example, you could mention an inability to communicate and interact with coworkers and managers successfully.
“Do you smoke cigarettes or consume alcohol/drugs?”
Your medical records will show if you have used drugs or have alcohol in your system. Therefore, it is better to be candid about your drug use than be caught in a lie and denied benefits as a result.
“Do you take care of any children?”
If you are caring for a child, you should be upfront about it. However, you should also mention the difficulties you face as a parent due to your disability. You may not be able to carry out household tasks like you did before becoming disabled, and you require assistance.
Keep in mind that these questions listed above may not be word-for-word, though the general topic may still arise.
Quick Tips To Keep In Mind For Your Disability Appeal Hearing
Among all the answers listed above, the overarching theme is that your disability or impairment makes it difficult to carry out your daily tasks and responsibilities. You should be consistent about this as you answer the judge’s questions openly and honestly. You should also be clear and concise with your answers to the judge and avoid rambling.
Be sure to avoid using extreme words such as “never,” “always,” and “impossible,” as this does not sway the judge’s jurisdiction. Instead, opt for terms like “sometimes,” “usually,” and “typically” when you are describing the symptoms of your disability and the difficulties you face as a result.
Why Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney For My Appeal Hearing?
The process of seeking and applying for disability benefits is stressful enough. Requesting an appeal and going through the appeals hearing process after being denied is an additional burden that you do not have to carry alone.
Hiring a professional Social Security Disability lawyer is your best bet at securing the SSD benefits you rightfully deserve. Fortunately, at the Disability Attorneys of Michigan, that is our specialty. Do you need help applying for disability benefits or navigating the appeals process? Consult with the Disability Attorneys of Michigan at no upfront cost to you. Submit a contact form on our website or call our office toll-free at 800-949-2900 for a free legal consultation today.