Since the average Social Security disability case can take two to three years from the date you file until the date of your hearing, you can expect the judge who hears your case to ask you about your activities during this long delay.
In this episode I discuss seven types of activities that you should avoid while you wait for your court date.
While disability judges don’t expect you to sit at home and stare at the wall for three years, they will be suspicious if you testify that you engage in certain activities.
For example, one of the activities that can raise a red flag for your judge would be testimony that you “help take care of” an elderly relative or friend. In your mind, you may see this task as simply sitting with an older person solely to provide companionship.
In the judge’s mind, however, your role as a sitter requires regular attendance, focus and attention, physical strength (if you have to help the older person move around), food preparation skills, communication skills and overall reliability.
If you are not able to explain why your companionship role is substantially different than a caretaker job, the judge may conclude that you have the capacity for simple, entry-level work. This is especially true if you are getting paid, or receiving room and board or food for your efforts.
You can avoid problems explaining your activities at your hearing if you understand how your judge might view what you are doing, and if you practice testifying with enough detail so that the judge will conclude that you do not have the capacity for any type of work.
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