You want to be prepared to answer these questions at your Social Security Disability hearing.

1. Do you use street drugs? Do you use alcohol to excess? Social Security Judges will deny you if you they believe that your drug or alcohol use interferes with your ability to work. A good response is to explain that you have sought addiction treatment successfully. Or that you attend AA or NA meetings.

2. Do you receive Unemployment benefits? Some Judges will penalize you for receiving unemployment benefits. They believe that you are telling them that you cannot work and you told Unemployment that you were available to work. A legitimate response is that you are willing to try at least a part-time job, or you were seeking work where they would let you take unscheduled breaks as needed, or miss days when you were in too much pain to function.

3. Why can’t you work? Be prepared for the frontal attack. It is usually not good enough to tell the Judge that you have to get up and down too much.
Does your condition make it so that you would miss more than 2 days per month? Why? Does your pain reduce your concentration to the point where you lose focus and keeps you off task for much of the time.

4. What if the Vocational Expert says you can work a job? You need to ask the Vocational Expert how many days can you miss a month and still keep your job? How long do you need to stay on task to keep your job? What if you are limited to using your hands occasionally?

5. What do you do all day? Some Judges equate daily activities with the ability to perform work. Remember to tell the Judge if you need to take breaks and rest throughout the day.

Questions about your Social Security Disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney at 309-827-4371.