For Most Claimants, The ALJ Hearing Process Is A Nerve-Racking Experience!
By: Ali R. Baghdadi, Esq.
Believe it or not, one of the most common mistakes a disability claimant can make during a hearing is failing to answer the question asked by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). For most claimants, the hearing process is a nerve-racking experience.
Let’s face it, many of us ramble under pressure. If you find yourself rambling from the topic of the question, stop, take a deep breath, and refocus your answer. It may be helpful to practice answering questions with your attorney or a friend. You may be more comfortable if you know what kinds of questions to expect during the hearing.
For those who do not have an attorney, or have not yet talked to your attorney about these questions, the following information will help. The administrative law judge will likely ask you for your name, Social Security number, age, mailing address, height and weight. After that, you should be prepared to answer questions such as:
- What is your formal education?
- Do you have any vocational training?
- Are you currently working?
- What was your last job and what were your job responsibilities?
- Have you tried working since you became disabled?
- Where else have you worked in the last 15 years and what were your job responsibilities?
- What is your diagnosis?
- What treatments have you tried?
- Do your treatments have any side effects?
- How does your disability impact your daily activities?
- How does your disability impact your ability to take care of yourself?
- How long can you sit, stand, or walk without needing a break?
- How much can you lift?
- How often do you need to take breaks?
- Do you have any issues getting along with supervisors, co-workers, clients, or customers?
- Do you have any difficulties concentrating or remembering things?
- How long you can sit, walk, stand or move around?
- How much you can lift, carry or otherwise move, and how often?
- And if you can safely climb, stoop and bend?
Not every question will be asked at your hearing. Sometimes the ALJ will not ask the disability claimant any questions; at other times the ALJ will ask you several questions. However, it is important to be prepared and to know how to answer the questions that pertain to your disability before you walk into the hearing room. Most importantly, knowing what questions to expect will increase the chances that you will be successful with your claim for Social Security Disability.