A Dothan Alabama disability attorney offers advice for testifying

At your Alabama disability hearing, you will finally have the chance to tell your story to the person who will decide if you are entitled to disability benefits, the administrative law judge (ALJ).  This is the only time you will be face-to-face with the decision maker.  You are the most important witness and you want to make the most of this opportunity.

The best way for you to convince the ALJ that your medical problems prevent you from working is to provide detailed examples in your own words.  If the ALJ asks you why you can’t work, don’t say because I have ruptured discs, or arthritis, or a heart condition.  Stating your diagnosis is a bad answer.  Plenty of folks with illnesses and injuries work.

Instead of telling the judge the name of your disease, provide the judge with a complete description of your symptoms and limitations.  Your symptoms, which you know better than anyone else, are what prevent you from working.  The more detailed your testimony, the better.  Use descriptive words.  Is your pain throbbing, aching, burning?  Does it feel like your are being stabbed or set on fire?

Your testimony should focus on how your pain and other symptoms prevent you from working.  Are you unable to sit, stand, or walk for prolonged periods?  Do you have to alternate between sitting and standing frequently?  Are you unable to get through an eight-hour day without lying down?  Do you have problems reaching and grasping objects?  Do you have to use the rest room frequently?   Do you have good days followed by bad days during which you would need to miss work?  Are you consistently unable to concentrate or remember instructions?

If the judge asks about how you spend a typical day, explain what you do hour by hour. Give details and examples.  Describe how long you move around and how long you rest afterwards.  Do you sit or lie down?  On the couch, the bed, or a recliner?

Point out the things that you must do differently now or can no longer do because of your impairments. Tell the judge how long it takes you to complete a task (e.g., getting dressed, loading the dishwasher) now compared to how long it used to take you. Describe everything that you need help from other people to do.

You will be testifying under oath and must tell the truth.  Do not exaggerate the severity of your symptoms. You do not need to be in agonizing pain every minute of the day to be found disabled. If you exaggerate, or your description of your symptoms and limitations is not consistent with your medical records, you credibility will be damaged and the ALJ may not believe you.

Get help from a Dothan disability lawyer

One of the most important tasks of a Dothan disability lawyer is preparing clients to testify at their disability hearings.  If I am your disability lawyer I will meet with you personally before your hearing.  We will review your testimony in detail to make sure you understand how to present your unique situation to the judge in the most effective manner.

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