Will you have to testify at a hearing for your Social Security disability claim? In most cases, the answer is yes. A Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) will decide your claim based on the medical evidence in your file, including x-rays, other imaging exams, test results, treatment notes, and written statements from you and your treating physician(s). Your testimony should help the judge to understand better your personal medical situation and how it impacts your functionality (or lack of functionality) both in a work environment and in your everyday activities. An ALJ may also ask about you to clear up any apparent contradictions between your statement or testimony and the medical records.
A disability hearing can genuinely produce anxiety in a lot of people, so in southern California you should have an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney at your side. A good Los Angeles disability lawyer will help you prepare for your hearing by reviewing with you many of the questions that may arise, and he or she can help you with suggestions for the best responses.
If you testify before an ALJ, be honest and precise. Don’t exaggerate. (Don’t say, for example, “I can’t even get up in the mornings” when you’re already sitting in court.) Avoid being modest or “a real man” by not complaining about how your disability impacts your ability to function or work. A disability hearing is no place to be a shrinking violet or a strong silent type.
The wisest strategy is to obtain the counsel and services of a good Social Security disability lawyer. In the southern California region, if you are applying for disability and have questions about testifying or about any other element of the application process, talk right away to an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney who can help you properly prepare for your testimony and the other aspects of your hearing and your claim.