Social security disability insurance exists to help people who are too sick, injured, or otherwise medically unable to work. It is a crucial part of the American social safety net. Unfortunately, it can be challenging for people to obtain these benefits. Without the expert advice of an expert attorney, people may continue to struggle without the assistance they require. There are a lot of steps for successfully applying for SSDI benefits. Two of the most important are collecting and filing medical records and the hearing with the administrative law judge. Preparing for the hearing means understanding the questions asked by disability judges. Let’s take a closer look at some vital information.
The hearing before the administrative law judge is likely to be one of the most stressful parts of the entire disability application process. It is not uncommon for people to get denied the first time they apply, and it is common for people to appeal an unfavorable ruling. A properly trained disability attorney will protect their client’s rights through every step of the process.
Personal Information and Educational History
Every person applying for SSDI is different, and every SSDI hearing is different. However, most hearings will begin with the administrative law judge asking a few standard questions including, but limited to:
- Full name
- Social security number
- Mailing address
- Age or date of birth
- Height and weight
After the vital statistics are out of the way, the judge will want to know about the claimant’s educational history and any vocational training they might have completed. These kinds of details can positively or negatively affect a person’s employment prospects – even if they have an underlying disability.
Current and Previous Employment
A lot of time is likely to be spent going over the SSDI applicant’s employment history, including how the disability affects their ability to be gainfully employed. The employment history portion of the hearing will probably start with the applicant’s current employment status. If they are used during the disability application process, the judge will want to know where the claimant is employed and their current role. A full job history going back 15 years could also be required. Some of the other questions that might be asked could include:
- Have you tried working since becoming disabled?
- How does the disability affect your daily life?
SSDI Medical History Questions
It is a guarantee that the claimant will be asked about their comprehensive medical history and the nature of their disability. Many of the questions regarding the disability will probably be focused on employment; those are not the only elements the judge is going to consider. The judge will also want to know how the disability affects how the claimant takes care of themselves or how they maintain a safe home. Some these types of questions may ask how the claimant:
- Prepares meals
- Goes shopping
The medical history portion of the hearing is where the judge will ask about the actual disability diagnosis. In addition to the date when a doctor made the diagnosis, it will be essential to cover how the disability has progressed and how it has continued to affect the claimant’s quality of life and ability to work. A judge will probably ask the following questions:
- What is your ability to sit, stand, or walk without needing a break?
- How much can you lift?
- Does your disability impact your memory?
How should I answer a disability judge’s questions?
If a disability attorney is retained, they will spend a lot of time preparing the claimant for the hearing. The most important thing to do is answer the judge’s questions thoroughly and honestly. It is crucial to avoid panicking and to be as forthright as possible – even if there is a chance the answer might hurt the case.
Applying for SSDI benefits is a complex process. Employing a compassionate and qualified disability attorney gives people the best possible chance for a successful outcome. Contact one of our expert attorneys today.