At Your SSDI Hearing things you should and should NOT DO.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by suzetal, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    I am hoping this advice that a friend sent me might help who have asked how they should act at their SSDI hearing.
    Good Luck to all of you.

    Sue PS: remember these are not my Ideas.She did not know that I had already won my case so I told her I would pass it along.I had not seen or spoken to her in 4 years.I was shocked to hear from her and after her email with her new # I was on the phone with Mary for about 3 hours .I am beat LOL.Time for a little nap.ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


    1. Be truthful.

    This common sense advice remains the very best recommendation for any witness , do not try to "argue" your point, dodge questions to avoid problem areas, or place any type of "spin" on your version of the facts. Tell it like it is.This may help or hurt a person's case. Yet, if the overall account is favorable, witnesses who do not try to "conceal" some harmful facts will help the case far more than those who slant their story.

    2. Listen Carefully to the Question -- and wait until the entire question is asked.

    A very common problem in testifying, many witnesses are so anxious to cooperate and to provide quick answers that they don't wait until the entire question is asked. As a result, they often answer a different question than the Judge intended and disrupt the flow and effectiveness of the questioning. Wait until the Judge asks the entire question before starting your answer.

    3. Answer Only the Question That Was Asked.

    If you listen carefully to the question, you must consider the scope of the question and not go beyond the issue at hand. If the answer to a loaded question is "yes" and you feel compelled to volunteer an explanation which will minimize an unfavorable appearance, remember that your attorney may question you again to permit the opportunity for such an explanation. By trying to "sneak" the explanation into your testimony, you will look very defensive and harm your own credibility.

    4. Take Your Time --

    Think Before Answering Each Question.
    There are no points for fast answers. Witnesses who take their time to think about their answers are perceived as being conscientious and concerned about telling the truth.

    5. Don't Guess at the Answer

    -- if you don't know, say you don't know! If you don't remember, say you don't remember!
    We are not "human computers." Many of us have difficulty remembering what we had for dinner last night, to say nothing of events which may have occurred months earlier. If you don't know or remember particular facts, do not give your best guess as to the answer. Guesswork can provide just the tool needed to destroy your credibility.

    6. Ask for Clarification if you don't understand a question - never attempt to answer a question that you don't really understand.

    Particularly in the anxious atmosphere of your hearing, certain questions may not make sense . Don't try to make sense out of the question yourself. If you don't understand a question, ask that it kindly be repeated or rephrased. Otherwise, you may unwittingly answer the wrong question.

    7. Be Cooperative,

    But Don't Be Forced into an Inaccurate Answer.
    Even when dealing with the Judge, witnesses should be cooperative in answering questions . However, witnesses who are too cooperative and give the questioner what she wants to hear may kill their case. Cooperation and courtesy do not require that you give what the questioner may think is the "correct answer." Don't be forced into an inaccurate answer.

    8. Don't Fight with the Questioner or Show Anger or Impatience with the Questioner

    Witnesses who display an "attitude" are letting their emotions interfere with their own testimony.Keep your emotions in check! Those who fight rarely win in the long run.Uncooperative "attitude" on your part is a sign of weakness.Do not lose your cool. If need be, count to "ten" as a way to "cool down" before proceeding with your testimony.You will score major credibility points.

    9. Be consistent!

    When testifying, be consistent with your earlier statements. Those who give testimony at odds with their earlier statements leave themselves vulnerable to attack and may be perceived as lying even when they simply don't remember relatively minor details.Be consistent with earlier statements and eliminate such attacks upon your credibility. You are testifying on your own behalf.Review and anticipate questions very carefully with your lawyer to eliminate surprises at your hearing.

    10. Try to Relax.

    This advice is easier said than done. But witnesses who appear relaxed and conversational do much better than those who get frazzled easily. While this is not always easy to accomplish.When you "practice" your testimony with your attorney.You will find the process much less intimidating.Witnesses are then able to look the judge and who ever else is there on behalf of SS in the eye and convincingly tell the "truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth."

    [This Message was Edited on 03/21/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/21/2007]
  2. fm2

    fm2 New Member

    my attorney told me if I hurt from sitting to stand up and move a little then sit back down. She said to do this as much as I needed. I won my case

    Good luck
    Trudi lol
  3. Kal-El

    Kal-El New Member

    The principle advice I'd give anyone awaiting a hearing is to BE SINCERE. You are there because you are sick, you know this and they know this. Therefore, there is no need to put on an act or show. These judges are trained to look for suspicious behavior, so just relax and be yourself.

    Secondly, when asked a seemingly 'yes' or 'no' question, tell your full story instead. Never give 'yes' or 'no' answers...elaborate fully. Often, the questions are meant to trick you slightly. For example, when asked 'Do you drive?', it implies that you can drive whenever you feel like it and if you answer it 'yes', you are admitting to the judge that you could.

    Instead, answer it like this..."Yes, Your Honor, I can drive occasionally when I really have to, however, I usually feel too exhausted or sick to drive and don't usually trust myself behind the wheel. I try to avoid driving in the car alone if I can help it".
  4. Cabbie

    Cabbie New Member

    Thanks, these are all good ideas ; I'm printing them out for reference. I just got my 2nd denial and will be applying for a hearing.

  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    To have someone else drive me to the hearing.

    He said not to wear anything cheerful or cutesie and not to wear jewelry. He wanted me to wear something dark and loose. He said not to do my hair or makeup; he wanted the judge to see how I look on my worst days.

    So much of the time, we try so hard to look as good as we can and present a brave face to the outside world. The hearing is not the time to do this.

    Good luck to all who are in the process.

    Love, Mikie
  6. dolsgirl

    dolsgirl New Member

    This entire process if so confusing. Thanks for the list. I am sending my paperwork to my doctor this week. I've been putting it off for a year. I was told by my doctor in March of 2006 & I hate to be labelled but I have to get over it. We're so broke. Once the doctor labelled me permanently disabled my workmen's comp switched to whatever the state or the insurance company gives you which is half of what the wc was. I want to apply w/a note from my fibro doc as well as the wc doc. I was also advised this week that the reason for my intense knee pain is that both of my knees have "subluxation" which means the knee caps are moving around.

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