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How to Act at a Social Security Hearing

The hearing may seem intimidating, but if you understand what to expect you will be more likely to remain calm and provide the best testimony for your case.

  • To set a good first impression you should arrive early and be dressed appropriately.

  • Be respectful and polite when answering the judge's questions and speak clearly into the microphone on the table. Additionally, refer to the Judge as "Your Honor" and do not interrupt him/her.

  • Although you may be angry or upset about your initial denial you should refrain from being confrontational or rude towards the judge. Remember that decision you received was not made by your judge and the judge is not bound by any previous decision on your case.

  • Try your best to be professional when the judge is questioning you. You should give full responses to the judge's questions. Stay on topic and avoid rambling from topic to topic.

  • You should understand, that the judge may ask about many different aspects of your life, some of which may be uncomfortable at times. Please remember that the judge has heard many cases and is only asking those questions so he/she can determine your eligibility for disability benefits.

  • In preparation for your hearing, you should do your best to anticipate the judge’s questions. This way, you will be able to develop and practice appropriate answers. If you become nervous you will have these answers to fall back on.

Joseph W. Ingaharro is Social Security Disability Lawyer serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Southern Maine and Rhode Island. Click here to discuss your case no cost.

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