During your disability claims process, you may end up doing a disability interview if you reach the disability hearing level. There are some things that you should avoid saying during a disability interview process. To get the highest possible settlement, and to get your claim approved, you should enlist the help of a disability lawyer. Gather hard medical evidence and any other supporting documentation for disability claim.
Common Disability Judge Questions
Questions regarding your personal information and background
Standard disability judge questions involve personal information which has already been completed on the application form. This personal information includes the judge asking for your full name, your address, age, date of birth, height and weight, as well as your Social Security Number.
The way you answer these questions will give the judge some indication of how your disability affects your memory and speech patterns.
Questions regarding your work background
Your work history and how your disability is currently affecting your ability to keep working are two critical parts of your application for disability benefits. The judge will want to explore your work history as well as your reasons for not being able to continue working in more detail than you might have supplied in your disability benefits application.
Typical disability judge questions regarding your work background might include:
- Are you still working?
- How long have you being doing this sort of work?
- Can you provide the dates you started and when you finished this job?
- What other jobs have you done in the past which you have skills for? If you did, why did you leave that job and what were the dates you started the job and when you left the job?
- If you are no longer working now, why did you stop?
- How did your medical condition affect your ability to do your job?
- Have you tried some other type of job after leaving your last job?
Questions regarding your medical issue(s)
While it is likely true that the judge may not be an expert on medical matters, they will be asking you questions of a certain nature that attempt to reveal how serious your condition is and whether your symptoms are so serious that it prevents you from being gainfully employed.
A key criterion for awarding disability benefits is that you cannot earn a living for at least the next 12 months. Typical disability judge questions may include:
- How does your medical condition affect the way you are able to continue doing the job you have been doing?
- When did the medical condition you now have start and how did it develop?
- Describe how your condition affects the way you live and carry out normal daily activities.
Questions regarding the specifications of your activity limitations
If your medical condition affects the way you carry out physical activities which are needed in your job, the judge will want to find out how serious the condition actually does affect them. As such, the disability judge questions will concentrate on typical physical activities such as lifting, carrying, standing, sitting and walking if relevant to your last job or other jobs you might be able to undertake taking into account your age, skills and experience.
Questions may include such things as:
- How long can you stand up for without having to sit down?
- How long do you need to rest before resuming work?
- How much can you carry at one time?
- How much can you lift at any one time?
- How far can you walk?
- How long can you sit down and work until you have to take a break?
Disability Judge Trick Questions
When you are appearing before a disability judge, there is no reason be nervous. A disability judge is not going to purposefully ask trick questions or try to confuse you. In other words, there will not be any trick questions or attempts to catch you in a mistake. The judge is simply there to figure out if you really cannot work because of your condition. The judge is a neutral party.
How To Answer Questions Asked By A Disability Judge
When you are answering questions asked by a disability judge, it is important to tell the truth. Don’t embellish your answers or exaggerate your claims. The judge will ask questions so that they can understand what your condition is and how it impacts your daily life and your ability to work. You can be detailed in your answers, but do not embellish or exaggerate.
If the judge asks you if you can do a particular activity and you can do it with limitations, don’t say you can’t do it. Instead, you should explain further. For example, if the judge asks if you can walk, and you can walk short distances with a walker or a cane, say that. Or, if the judge asks if you can sit down in a chair at a computer, and you can do it but not for very long, tell the judge that you can do it, but only for 15 or 30 minutes before the pain is so bad that you cannot do it any longer. You are allowed to expand on your answers and explain fully how your limitations impact your daily life and your ability to work.
What Not To Say During A Disability Interview
Here is a closer look at the five things that you should not say in a disability interview. Making any of these statements could be devastating to your disability claim and result in a claim being denied. An attorney can help you prepare for your disability interview.
1. Saying You Can Work – Do not say that you are able to work, or that the only reason you are not working is because no will hire you. If you are capable of working, you will not qualify for disability benefits.
2. Exaggerating Your Symptoms – You should not exaggerate your symptoms. If you do, it will reduce your credibility and what you say will not be trusted. Stick to the facts of your condition and symptoms and be honest about your condition. The judge will know if you exaggerate your symptoms and will review your medical records and any other pertinent documentation.
3. Stating You Are Not Being Treated For Your Disability – If you are not receiving treatment for your medical issues, you may not qualify for disability benefits. You should continue with your treatments and maintain your medical care. Updated medical records are a necessity. If you had to stop certain treatments because they did not work, then you will need to explain why you are no longer able to do them.
4. Giving Vague Answers – Answer all questions in detail. Be descriptive, give timeframe, and be specific. Do not say “my arms hurt,” but instead detail the pain such as “aches down my arms into the bones and through the joints.” Be factual and honest but be descriptive so the judge understands the severity of your condition.
5. Making Statements That Can Hurt Your Claim – Unless you are specifically asked pertinent questions, do not talk about alcohol or drug use, criminal history, family members getting disability or unemployment, or similar topics. However, if you are asked directly about any of those topics, answer them truthfully.
Get Help From A Disability Attorney
A disability attorney can be beneficial to your disability claim. According to the SSA, disability claimants represented by lawyers are more likely to have their claims approved and be awarded disability benefits. If you are ready to apply for disability benefits, or if you are already in the disability claims process, you can enlist the help of a disability attorney. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details of your disability claim with a Social Security disability attorney who represents clients in your area.