Q: What’s the best way to answer the Administrative Law Judge’s questions at my California disability benefits claim appeal hearing?
People often make one of three big mistakes while testifying at a claim appeal hearing; all three mistakes go back to misrepresenting their situation in some way.
The first mistake we see are people who try to hide or downplay the extent of their symptoms to appear brave. It’s understandably difficult for some of us to be vulnerable in front of others – especially with regard to your impairments. However, you aren’t at the hearing to show the ALJ how well you are coping with your symptoms. You’re there to prove to Social Security that you are eligible for disability benefits. If it hurts, say so.
Next is the opposite problem: individuals who exaggerate their symptoms. Doing this creates bad faith. Chances are the judge will deny your claim and your reputation with Social Security will be irreversibly damaged.
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes we see in transcripts for denied appeal hearings are applicants who aren’t specific enough in the ALJ’s interview. Instead of offering concrete examples of how an individual’s symptoms create difficulties for them in their day-to-day life, he or she will give a one-word answer that doesn’t make an impression. It’s important to keep your answers concise and on-point, but it’s also important to make them detailed and memorable.
When you testify, be respectful, be sincere, and tell enough of your story to drive home your point. If you are preparing to appeal a denied claim for SSI or SSDI benefits, talk to a skilled
Tehama disability lawyer at the Ledgerwood Law Group today. Call toll-free 888-761-7383 to learn more.