If you are going to a hearing on your Social Security disability case, you will be nervous. That is to be expected. But, you must be well prepared to testify or you can damage your case. The most important rule is what your mother always told you: Tell the truth!
Don’t try to “shade” your testimony in a way that you think helps the case, especially about sensitive subjects like drug and alcohol use. Your medical records will be full of information about any substance abuse, so the judge already knows. Be honest or the judge won’t believe anything you say.
You want to give strong testimony. What does that mean? Give detailed descriptions of your limitations and how they affect you day-to-day. Here are some examples:
My pain is terrible and disables me.
Ever since I came home from the hospital, I am in pain almost constantly. I cannot find a comfortable position either sitting or standing because of the pain in my back. My doctor prescribed up to 4 pain tablets a day but I have to take more than 6 and at least a dozen aspirin on top of that. I have no appetite and have lost 15 pounds because the medicine makes me nauseous. I only drive if I absolutely have to because it is so painful to be in a car, especially when I drive over bumps or potholes. That sends pain shooting down my back. I can’t attend church any longer because I can’t sit still for that long.
Your testimony is a crucial part of your disability case. You want to be well-prepared to present the best testimony you can. 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.