Tips for What Not to Say to the Social Security Disability Hearing Judge
February 16, 2017
Your attorney will prepare you for answering the judge’s questions, but here are a few pieces of advice for you to follow while you are in preparation mode:
- Do not exaggerate your symptoms
- Do not report more pain than your records indicate
- Do not contradict what the residual functional capacity evaluation says
- Do not give shady or vague answers
- Do not show up at the hearing unprepared to answer the judge’s questions
Finally, take a breath and relax. You can be encouraged by the fact that this opportunity to present your case before an administrative law judge gives you the greatest chance of getting your claim approved than at any other step in the long process. The national average for claim approval at the hearing level is 50 percent, and in Pennsylvania, the hearing level claims approval rate is 56.1 percent.
While you might be feeling frustrated and defeated by the cumbersome SSD application process that is fraught with denials and disappointment, you will not do yourself any good by allowing that frustration to be expressed when you are speaking with the judge. The ALJ did not invent the process, and it is not her or his fault that your case has met with so many apparent roadblocks. Give the judge respect because they hold the authority to approve or deny your claim, and this judge is likely your last best chance for getting your case approved.
Depending on how long your lawyer has been practicing in the area, they will likely be familiar with the ALJ, their style and their demeanor when addressing applicants. Your attorney will know from experience how the judge that has been assigned to your case might respond to the weaknesses in your case and be prepared with how to overcome those weaknesses.
It is our hope that these tips will help you feel more confident as you prepare for your hearing. If you need an experienced, Philadelphia SSD attorney you are welcome to work with the legal team at the law firm of Larry Pitt & Associates.
When you are preparing for a Social Security Disability benefits hearing, an experienced Philadelphia SSD attorney from Larry Pitt & Associates can help you prepare a compelling case and improve your chances of getting your application approved. You are invited to fill out our contact form or call 888.PITT.LAW to schedule an appointment at any of our office locations serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties to discover how we can help you today.