When it comes to navigating SSDI hearings, the disability claimant has to be ready for anything. Sometimes they’ll be expected to answer questions, while other times the hearing may proceed without the claimant needing to say anything at all. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are expected to speak.
How Should I Talk to Officials?
An SSDI judge doesn’t have time to go too deep into a person’s history, which means you’re not expected to detail every last ailment or impediment. If you are asked a question, the best way to field it is to answer directly without going too far off track. If you’re not entirely sure what the question means, you are allowed to clarify with the presiding official. Doing so shows that you’re not only paying attention but that you’re also committed to going the extra mile to get what you need.
Should I Practice Beforehand?
Because hearings can be difficult to get through, it can help to practice specific answers with your Social Security Disability lawyer or a loved one before going in front of the SSDI judge. If you find yourself getting flustered or going off-topic, you have the chance to refocus your attention on the question so you can really answer what has been asked. Talk to your attorney to find out the types of questions you might be asked or search online for testimonials of other people who have successfully filed.
Do I Have to Be Specific When Filing for Disability?
To successfully talk to SSDI officials, you need to be succinct without sacrificing your specificity. When you’re describing the pain you feel, use words that accurately depict the sensations you’re feeling. If they ask how long you can perform a specific activity, give officials real-time data (e.g., 45 minutes).
The bottom line for how to answer questions at your hearing is to paint a reality for the officials that proves your symptoms both coincide with your condition and reasonably prevent you from working.