What To Expect
(Following is a brief overview of a hearing)
1. First, do you know where the hearing is and how to get to the hearing?
Go to your hearing and be there 30 minutes early. If you do not attend your hearing the Judge may dismiss your case of hold your hearing without you.
2. The hearing is very simple and informal. It is nothing like what you see on TV. You do not need to dress up for it. You can wear everyday clothes or what you wear to Wal-Mart.
3. The hearing is generally 45 minutes long, It is not in a courtroom. It is in a regular room. There is a table and we all sit around it. The doors are closed and it is all done in private. There is some computer equipment in the room and there are tape recorders. It will be you, me, the Judge and a reporter.
4. You do not need to "rest up" for the hearing or do anything special for it We just want to see you on your average typical day. I know you have good and bad days and it just as well be a bad day. It is not a job interview; it is like the opposite. It does not need to be the best day of the year. We want to see you there with your problems.
5. Have someone drive you to the hearing if possible. Bring your medications or make a list of them. You can put them in a bag.
6. The hearing starts with the Judge and me asking a few questions of each other to make sure everything is ready to go. Then either the Judge or I will ask you several background questions:
A. What is your name and address?
What is your height and weight?
What is your age and date of birth?
What is your education level?
How many children do you have?
Are you married?
Do you have a driver's license?
Can you read and write?
Any recent jail time?
When did you last work or what was your last job?
B. After that set of questions we will ask you about your work history. We will want to know the main jobs you have held in the last 15 years. Just the jobs you did for more than six months or more. We will ask about your typical day at work, such as what you lifted or carried.
C. After your work history, we will discuss your medical problems. The questions will generally be:
What are each of your impairments?
How long have they lasted?
How do they affect you or limit you?
What makes you better or worse?
What medications help or not?
Who are your doctors?
How long can you sit, stand, walk?
How much can you lift?
How do you spend your day?
Summation: It's a lot like going to the doctor's office and telling him everything that is wrong with you and why you can't work. Most of the questions are similar to the questions in the forms your filled out when you applied.
DOs AND DON'Ts
1. When you apply there is a form which will ask you to describe your daily living activities. Be careful not to overstate what you can do.
2. When you apply for Social Security Disability/SSI you will be asked to fill out a form and describe your past work history for the last 15 years. Be careful not to overstate what your duties are or what is your title. Also, do not understand the physical demands of your jobs.
3. Do fill out a list of all the doctors you have seen or hospitals you have been to. You will not have to give the exact dates but the approximate dates are sufficient.
4. Do a list of all of your medical problems whether they are big or small to you.
5. Do not dress up for your hearing.
6. Do not go to your hearing without an attorney.