The 4 Reasons that the Social Security Judge Does Not Want to Listen to Your Relatives or Friends Testify at Your Social Security Disability Hearing and Why You are the Star Witness
You’ve waited forever to have a hearing in front of Social Security judge. You want the judge to hear your whole story about why you can’t work and all the problems you have every day. It’s not uncommon for witnesses to come to testify in other court matters but Social Security hearings are different.
What are the 4 Reasons that a Social Security Judge Does Not Want Witnesses?
1. The Proof is Different in a Social Security Hearing
To win a Social Security disability case you must establish that you meet the five-step sequential evaluation used in every Social Security disability case. The five-step sequential evaluation Is medical and vocational in nature and there isn’t much that lay witnesses can add it to the picture.
The judge will have reviewed before the hearing your medical records , the statements you and others have made about you and your work history.
At Step 3 of the 5-step sequential evaluation, the judge will determine whether you meet a medical listing. This is purely a medical issue and lay testimony won’t help the judge with that issue.
If you don’t need a listing at Step 3, the judge will determine at Step 4 whether you can return to the lightest and simplest demanding job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled. Once you’ve established that you meet Step 4, the judge must determine at Step 5 whether there’s other work in the mythical not real world national economy that you could hypothetically do in view your age, education, skills and your restriction and limitations.
Unfortunately, lay witnesses are not really going to help the judge determine whether you meet the five-step sequential evaluation.
2. The testimony of lay witnesses is biased.
Your family members have a financial interest in seeing that you get your Social Security disability benefits and that makes them biased.
3. There isn’t enough time during a Social Security Hearing to have lay witnesses.
The typical Social Security hearing last 30 to 45 minutes. There are generally two witnesses – you and a vocational evaluator. The judge might have a medical witness testify about the permanency of your medical condition, whether you meet the elements of a listing at Step 3, and your restrictions and limitations.
4. The judges are behind in their caseloads.
Unfortunately, most Social Security judges have a huge case load. They need to move the cases as quickly as possible. That means that they don’t want to have hearings that are longer than necessary, particularly when they know that lay witnesses have little to add in the way of proof.
Why You Are the Star of the Social Security Disability Hearing
Your medical records only tell half the story in the Social Security disability claim. You tell the other half of the story by explaining to the judge your prior work duties for the 15 years before you became disabled, your symptoms and how those symptoms impacted functionality, what you can do on a daily basis, whether you have good days and bad days side effects of medication and how your activities change your symptoms.
The judge wants to hear your story in your own words with you every question the judge will ask and teach you how to truthfully tell your story in a way that the judge will understand.
Do You The Help of a Social Security Disability Attorney?
Wow! It seems strange that the people who know you best can’t testify at a Social Security hearing. Unless your relative is a physician , the judge simply does not want to hear from lay witnesses.
Nothing prevents you from having your family member bringing you do the hearing or sitting in the waiting room. Just don’t plan on having that person testify on your behalf.
They’re only there for moral support! You are the true star of your Social Security disability hearing.