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I'm supposed to go to my SSDI hearing next week before an administrative law judge and I'm getting very nervous about what will happen and how I'll do. What kinds of questions will I get asked at the hearing? Are they always the same questions? I think if I could prepare a little bit and be ready for what they'll ask I could do a lot better. Thanks.

 
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Questions at Administrative Law Judge Hearing

You didn't say if you have an attorney or not.  If you do not, you should reconsider.  It is always better to retain counsel for SSDI claims, especially if you are scheduled for an ALJ hearing.  Many of the better disability attorneys will bring their client into their office prior to the hearing, go over the questions that will be asked, and help the client formulate appropriate and accurate answers.  Using their prior experience with SSDI hearings, they are able to help the client deal with the stress.  Given your level of anxiety, it seems like you would benefit from that exercise.

In any case, I can not tell you every question that you will hear at the hearing, but there are certainly questions that are almost always asked, questions you should be prepared for. Some questions will be asked by the judge and others by your attorney, if you have one.  Your attorney may ask more detailed questions designed to flesh out the specifics of your condition and to paint a picture of how your disability impacts your life.  Initially you will be asked about your personal background and information: (1) your name and social security number; (2) mailing address; (3) educational background; (4) height and weight, etc.

You will also be asked about your work history: (1) whether you are currently working; (2) whether you have attempted to work since your disability onset date,  and how those attempts worked out; (3) describe your last job before the onset date; (4) provide a detailed work history.

You will also be asked a host of questions about your medical issues and how those issues limit your activities:  (1) your diagnosis; (2) how long you've had the condition; (3) how it has progressed; and (4) how it has impacted your quality of life.

At this point, the questions may get very specific as the Judge attempts to determine how, exactly, your condition limits your physical abilities.  So, for example, you may be asked: (1) how long you are able to remain standing; (2) how far you can walk; (3) how long you can remain standing; or (4) how much you can lift.  These question will vary depending on your specific disability.  So, for example, If you have non-physical issues, such as depression, the questions might focus on your personal hygiene, your relationships, ability to concentrate, etc.

I hope that is helpful.  Do please consider hiring an attorney.  Good luck.

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