To understand the impact of your medical condition on your ability to function, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will be interested in your daily activities. The specific questions the ALJ or your disability lawyer asks you will depend on your condition. However, most questions focus on the activities that you perform on a daily basis.
The ALJ or your lawyer may ask you questions about your daily routine, including what an average day is like. Describe your day for the judge from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. Provide specific examples of things you do differently now than when you were able to work.
Tell the ALJ if you need help with your personal care, such as bathing, dressing, tying shoelaces, and combing your hair. He or she will also want to know if you need to be reminded to bathe, get dressed, or change clothes.
The ALJ will be interested in how you manage to keep up your home. Are you able to do the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and yard work yourself or do you require assistance? Have you given up on some household chores or do you do them less frequently or less thoroughly than you did before your injury or illness? Consider each of the chores that maintaining your household requires and be prepared to describe how you manage it. Can you finish a household task in a reasonable amount of time? If not, give examples of tasks that take you a long time to complete.
Socializing and leisure activities
The ALJ will want to know what social activities you engage in. For example, are you able to go out to eat, to the movies, sporting events, or church? How often do you visit with family and friends? Do you have problems getting along with people? Are you able to participate in any hobbies? Have you had to give up any hobbies because of your condition?
Your Social Security disability hearing is your chance to meet the ALJ face to face and persuade him or her you are unable to work.
Guidance from a disability lawyer will help ensure that your testimony is effective. Adequate preparation for the hearing is essential to a successful outcome. In my office we spend a good deal of time preparing clients for the hearing, reviewing the types of questions that will be asked at the hearing and making sure that our clients feel comfortable with the process.
For more information about Social Security disability claims, order a FREE copy of my book, Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims.
If you need help with your disability claim, contact my office today at 410-823-8200.