There is a bit of thought and practice that has to be put into how to speak to a social security disability benefits judge. Each hearing is different. In some cases the judge may have no questions for the defendant, while in others there are many. The prospect of answering or speaking to a judge even for a short time can seem a little daunting. However, with these tips from Disability Associates, a social security disability benefits law firm in Towson, Maryland, we will help you get through some of the questions you may have.
Answer the Question
This may sound simple but it not answering the question asked by the judge is an all-too-common problem that can occur. In order to avoid this mistake, be sure to listen carefully to what the judge is saying and asking. Take notes on a piece of paper or if you need more clarification, ask the judge to restate the question.
Don’t Ramble or Veer Off Topic
The hearing process can be a nerve-wracking experience. If, like many of us, you are prone to ramble on when under pressure, it’s important that you prepare yourself to provide succinct answers to the judge’s questions. If you give long-winded answers that stray too far from the questions asked, the judge may stop listening or miss important statements you make. In the worst case he or she may become irritated and flat out interrupt you.
Don’t Be Embarrassed
Regardless of the impairment, the judge will discuss information that at times can be highly personal. Frequently, disability claimants feel understandably a little embarrassed by symptoms of their disease, tests, procedures, or by treatments they have undergone. It is important to remember, though, that judges in these cases have heard hundreds of testimonies before and that their role is to decide whether you meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
Be Honest and Don’t Exaggerate
The most important way to answer any of the judge’s questions is honestly. Sometimes claimants feel as if they need to make their symptoms sound worse than they really are and as a result will have a better chance at winning their claim. However, exaggerating your disability usually has the opposite effect. As stated before, the judge hears hundreds of cases a year. They are trained in recognizing when a claimant is magnifying the truth. If the judge believes, you may be exaggerating your symptoms, you will lose credibility with the judge, and if he or she doesn’t believe you, you will probably lose your claim for disability benefits.
About Disability Associates
Disability Associates, LLC, managed by attorney Tracey N. Pate, provides legal representation to disabled individuals who are seeking Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our concentration is exclusively on Social Security Disability Law. It’s all we do! We know that filing for Social Security benefits can be a long and frustrating process. We are dedicated to taking the weight off of our client’s shoulders by simplifying this process for them. There is absolutely no charge unless we win your case.