Yesterday I had my Social Security (SS) hearing. It went pretty well.
First off, I had to get to the location 30 minutes early on the request of my representative. FYI, I have spoken to this man 2-3 times and he wanted me there to ask me all of the same questions he has asked me over the phone. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking he just wants to make sure I’m prepared with my answer. No, no that’s not the reason. He was just totally inept. He also thought the security line was going to take a long time. Really? From the front door of the building until I met him in the conference room, it was all of 45 seconds. So ridiculous. This guy had no clue.
He did ask me a few questions right before hand that I felt were a little late in the game. Things like what types of procedures did I try. He seemed to be scrambling. This guy was supposed to have prepared for my case and he knew nothing. I was absolutely shocked.
I mean, take some pride in your job. He just seemed like such a loser. I couldn’t believe it.
My hearing was about 25 minutes late, I guess they had technical difficulties. I walked in, and of course, they offered for me to sit. I declined, and they all looked at me weird. Good thing I’m used to it.
First off, they asked me my name, weight, and height. Weirdly, they asked if I was right or left handed? I kinda felt like this isn’t the middle ages. Why would being left-handed even matter?
Then they asked me, well, the lawyer, what my diagnosis was. He said chronic pain. Immediately the judge said pain is a symptom, not a diagnosis. The repeats, what is her diagnosis.
I do not bullshit you, my lawyer said “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
The lawyer then says I have parthyroidism. No, I don’t. I have hypoparathyroidism that created a connective tissue disorder. My stupid fucking lawyer had no clue.
I had to worm that answer in later. I could not believe it.
After that, most of the questions pertained to:
– where is the pain
-how is the pain
-what can you do
-what ADL’s can you do
-who cares for you
… things of that nature.
At the end the judge asked if there was anything my lawyer wanted to add (my lawyer did warn me before hand this might happen and that it was my opportunity to make sure my case was fully represented. My lawyer said he would ask me a bunch of questions to make sure the judge understood my case).
The lawyer asked “how did you get from Northern California to Southern California?”
I said RV and ambulance.
After that, I looked at him for more questions. He turns to the judge and says “that’s all I have your honor.”
I could have done a much, much better job if I had just represented myself. There is nothing this company has done that improved my chances. If anything they hurt my long term chances by almost getting the case thrown out when they screwed up the first videoconference. If they had not of done that, I would have had my court date in December, and a decision by now. If I win, I would be able to go to my disability insurance company an appeal with the fact that the United States government deems me disabled. Now, I won’t find out until May, so it’s a moot point as I have to appeal with the disability insurance carrier by April 4th. So irritating. I really wanted to look over at the lawyer and be like “why are you even here?” or “how about you do all of us a favor and just go get yourself some coffee. You are contributing nothing to this.”
Back to the hearing, at that point I asked the judge if I could add something. He agreed. The weird thing you should know is that there is no real room for narrative. It’s very yes, no, and short answer. It was a bit weird to ask if I could add something, the judge agreed, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the norm.
The one thing my lawyer said was really important is that you illustrate that you have tried multiple doctors. Then, in the course of the hearing, he only referred to two doctors that I saw. I took the opportunity to list all the doctors that I had seen so that I would fulfill the requirement of seeing multiple specialties. The one thing I did wish I had done differently at this point is list all the treatments I had tried. Even if I just quickly rattled them off, I think it would have helped. I also wish I had kind of added a personal statement about how hard it was to go from being super active to not active at all. However, I do think they care more about determining whether or not you are disabled, not how it feels to be disabled. So I think I am okay there. I do wish I had listed all of my treatments though.
The judge did apologize and say it would take 2 months to get the determination.
That’s fine, in and of itself. It is what it is. I’m just mostly mad, as I said above, that the lawyer company messed up the original court date because I would already have my decision by now.
There it is. That’s how it went. I feel good knowing that I tried my best and that if I do get an unfavorable decision that it wasn’t for lack of preparation on my part. If I don’t get approved I think it will be because no one can give me a diagnosis, which, if I had one, I might be better now! Oh, the irony.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I can answer whatever it is you might like to know about the process.