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Testifying About Your Daily Routine

Social Security Disability HearingsSocial Security Disability Hearings

Administrative Law Judges almost always ask claimants about their daily activities. They want to know how you spend an average day, and whether your stated answer makes sense with the symptoms and impairment you describe having. Your Macomb County Social Security disability attorney can help you select experiences from your daily life that accurately demonstrate the extent of your limitations, and that will serve as strong examples in your testimony.

ALJs will evaluate potential inconsistencies in your testimony: if you testify that you go out dancing a few nights a week, but claim to be so disabled that you have trouble standing and walking, the judge will be very doubtful of your testimony about your claimed limitations and inability to work.

Use the judge’s questioning about your daily activities as an opportunity to provide a lot of detail about your life and your impairment. Here is a bad example:

Q: What do you do on a typical day?

A: Nothing.

This answer is not helpful. Sitting and watching TV is still something; sitting and looking out the window is something. So illustrate your disability and impairment by providing more detail about your limitations.

Q: What do you do on a typical day?

A: Some cleaning, cooking, some laundry, and I run to the store to do some grocery shopping.

While this may be true, it also completely fails to include details about how limited the claimant is. Your Macomb County Social Security disability attorney will advise you to mention how you can only cook and clean for a few minutes at a time before having to sit down and rest, or how you can only cook very simple meals, or how you need help doing the laundry, or how you have to take your son along to grocery store to carry the groceries. Don’t fail to mention how you need to sit in a recliner several times a day to relax your back. Providing these sorts of details will help portray how limited and painful your daily routine is, and significantly improve the ALJs understanding of your symptoms and limitations.

You want the judge to “live” your day with you, hour by hour. Talk about the things you have to do differently now because of your impairment.

For more information on how to testify before the administrative law judge, contact Macomb County Social Security disability attorneys, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, at 800-331-3530.

J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

19991 Hall Road, Suite 202
Macomb, MI 48044
Phone: 586-977-8100
Fax: 586-977-8444

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