Your Social Security Disability Testimony
The most important thing about a Social Security disability hearing is to tell the truth.
When the judge asks a question, don't try to figure out why the judge is asking that particular question or whether your answer will help or hurt your case. Be candid about your strengths as well as about your limitations. The best way to lose a good case is for the judge to think that you're not telling the truth. So testify truthfully.
And, don't do any play-acting for the judge. That is, don't pretend to cry or be in more pain than you are. On the other hand, you need not suffer silently or minimize your problems when you tell the judge how you feel. If you need to take a break from the hearing, ask the judge for permission. If you are uncomfortable sitting and it would help to stand up for a while, you may do so, and you should not be embarrassed about it.
Tell Your Story
This will be your chance to tell the judge everything we want the judge to know about why your condition prevents you from holding a job.
Many people think that since they are dealing with the government, they should keep their mouth shut, give the shortest possible answer and not volunteer anything. Although this is usually a good approach when the government is trying to do something to you, the opposite is true when you are asking the government to do something for you. You need to provide enough facts, details, and explanation in your testimony to make it obvious to the judge that you are disabled.
If you are asked when something happened, the judge is likely to appreciate having the precise date. But if you don’t remember the exact date, don’t worry. Few people can remember precise dates for events in their lives. If you don’t remember the exact date, say so. Then, do your best to give an approximate date, or a month and year, or a season and year, or, if you cannot remember more accurately, just the year. Getting dates wrong is something that all of us, including the judge, do from time to time. Some people are worse than others with dates. The judge won’t think you’re being untruthful if it turns out that a date is wrong.
Areas of Testimony
Questions are going to be asked of you at the hearing about your:
1. Work history.
3. Medical history.
5. Your estimate of your work limitations.
6. Your daily activities.