Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler
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Getting Ready for Your Social Security Disability Hearing - Part V

Don't try to describe your condition as better than it is. If you hurt, testify that you hurt and where. If you don't testify that something is wrong, there is a chance the Judge will ignore medical records that indicate the existence of these problems. On the other hand, don't exaggerate your problems at the hearing. This can hurt your case more than anything. Discuss with your attorney whether the particular Judge has any tendencies about questions to test this aspect of your credibility. One common example relates to describing your pain on a scale of 1-10. Generally, it is better to not to state that your pain is at a 10 level all the time, especially if 10 is described as placing your hand in an open flame. It is usually wiser to describe your pain in the 4-5 range with occasional spikes to 7 or 8 that occur several times per week, if this is in fact the case. Discuss this aspect of how to best communicate with your attorney prior to the hearing. If you need to stand up during the hearing, don't hesitate to do so. This can bolster your testimony that you can only sit for 10 or 15 minutes to support your testimony.

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