Social Security hearings can be stressful. The process of getting to a hearing has been long, frustrating, and full of denials. Do not worry! Below is a list of helpful tips we’ve found helpful for our clients.
- Breathe! Relax! The hearing is informal and not adversarial. The hearing is more of a conversation between you and the Judge. Judges are people too.
- Do not answer a question you do not know the answer to. It is ok and best to ask for a question to be repeated if you did not hear the question or did not understand what the Judge is asking.
- Have a list of your medications readily available. Some Judges will ask what medications you are taking.
- Most Judges will ask you what conditions (physical and/or mental) prevent you from working.
- Be very polite to the Judge and refer to the Judge as “your honor”.
- Be honest with the Judge regarding your conditions and limitations you have.
- Try to have your doctor complete medical source statements, commonly referred to as Residual Functional Capacity Forms. These forms are short and are helpful to your case.
- Make sure all medical records have been submitted at least 5 days prior to the hearing.
- If your hearing is in person dress comfortably and appropriately.
- If your hearing is over the phone, make sure:
- Your phone is charged and can be used for one hour to 90 minutes.
- You are in a private location with good reception.
- Do not let anyone sit in the room with you, plan to testify on your own.
- Wait until it is your turn to speak.
- Keep your answers short and answer the question asked.
- Talk slowly and clearly.
- Stay focused during the hearing and do not do other things while the hearing is taking place such as eating or drinking.
- Prepare! This is your case. You know about your condition and your limitations. This is your time to talk to the Judge about YOU.
Attorney Shari Lynn Stevens has worked extensively with residents of Northeastern Wisconsin to secure their financial freedom through filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. She also advocates and represents disabled clients in their Social Security disability claims.