If your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) has been denied by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) your best chance for turning that decision around is by hiring counsel and going to a disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
What evidence you present at your hearing to make your case is very important. So you may be wondering, will I need to have witnesses at my disability hearing?
The answer is…
Your Disability Hearing.
It all depends.
Because every person is unique, every single disability case is different and there is no one answer that “fits all.” The best thing you can do if you want to know the answer to this question in your case is to consult with your disability counsel.
The majority of disability hearings are decided on the evidence of your medical records, your own testimony at the hearing, your doctor’s opinion as reflected in your medical records, and any testimony the ALJ may receive from a vocational expert or other expert at the hearing. Because of this, most claimants do not bring witnesses to their disability hearing.
In other case, however, having a witness testify for you can be helpful. For example, if a former employer or a caregiver knows you well and understands how your condition limits you at work and in your daily activities, it might be helpful to have that person testify for you.
There are, of course, certain situations in which having a witness testify for you makes good sense. For example, if your condition is one where you lose consciousness or awareness (e.g., epileptic seizures or bipolar events), it may be helpful to have a witness. Likewise, certain mental conditions that affect your ability to communicate may benefit from having competent witnesses testify to your condition.
The ALJ Runs the Hearing.
Deciding whether or not to call witnesses at your hearing is an important strategic decision that you must make with your disability attorney.
You will want to choose the best possible witness and you will want to keep the number of witnesses to 1 or 2 at the most, because hearings don’t last that long, and ALJs do not want to be overburdened with witness testimony.
Keep in mind that the ALJ runs the hearing, which means the ALJ must know beforehand if you are calling witnesses, and it is up to the ALJ whether he/she will allow witnesses in the room if they are not testifying.
Contact Parmele Law Firm to Learn More.
If you want to know more about the disability hearing process, or if you have been denied benefits, contact us. We have helped many people get benefits and we can help you, too. We have offices throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. We have offices in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, too. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Contact us today or call us at 855-727-8625 to set up your free appointment.