As discussed in our previous post, your testimony will the most substantial part of the hearing. All testimony must be given under oath. You must swear to tell the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” under penalty of perjury. Everything you say will be recorded and made part of the “record” in the event your case is appealed.
Either the Judge or your attorney (or both) will ask you questions about your background, your past work, and about your medical conditions.
The Judge will first ask some preliminary questions about your age and education. How far you went in school is part of the disability review process, so the Judge will want to know if you completed high school, went to college, or received any specialized vocational training.
Your Past Relevant Work
The Judge will next ask you about all jobs that you have performed in the past 15 years.
The Judge will ask you about:
- Your job title;
- How long you performed the job;
- Your job duties;
- What physical abilities you had to do during your employment (e.g., whether you had to lift anything heavy, or if you did the job standing or sitting);
- Any special skills you needed in order to perform your job.
Your attorney should discuss your past work with you prior to the hearing to make sure your answers are consistent with the paperwork you filled out during the application process.
Your Medical Conditions
The testimony will then shift to your medical conditions. The Judge will want to know:
- What medical conditions you have;
- How they affect you;
- Whether you feel pain and, if so, the severity/frequency;
- What treatment you are receiving for the condition (e.g., surgery, medication, etc.).
In general, you should talk to your attorney about your medical conditions and their affects. If the Judge does not ask you the appropriate questions about your conditions, your attorney will fill in the blanks and make sure that all appropriate testimony is part of the “record.”
Finally, the Judge will ask you about your daily activities, such as:
- Whether you can leave the house;
- Whether you can drive a car;
- What you do during the day;
- Your exercise habits;
- If you have any hobbies;
- If you can go out with friends/socialize.
Again, it is important for your answers to remain consistent with your medical records and forms filled out with Social Security.
Your hearing is an important part of the disability process. The Judge will be focused on whether you meet Social Security’s definition of “disability.” A good representative can help:
- Prepare you for the hearing;
- Guide your questioning at the hearing;
- Make sure that the Judge has all the information needed for a “Favorable” decision;
- Cross-examine experts; and
- Give opening and closing statements.
RCM Disability is associated with RCM Legal, a law firm in Southern California committed to passionately fighting for justice. RCM specializes in personal injury, product liability, social security disability, workplace sexual harassment, and unlawful firing / wrongful termination.