Preparing to Testify: Daily Activities
One topic about which you will definitely need to be prepared to testify at your disability hearing is your daily activities. The administrative law judge (ALJ) will definitely want to know how active you are, how you handle everyday tasks like chores and personal care, and how your impairment affects your ability to carry out daily activities. To plan your testimony, start by breaking the topic of “daily activities” into several subtopics, and then list all of the questions that fall into each subtopic. With respect to daily activities, some possible subtopics include daily living activities, social/leisure activities, and personal care and hygiene.
Daily living includes tasks such as chores around the house, running errands, and childcare. To prepare to testify, it might be helpful to make a list of all of the different daily living tasks that are done in your home, and for each task, write down what the task entails, who completes it, and how often it is done. Some examples of daily living tasks are cooking, doing laundry, washing dishes, paying bills, yard work, and grocery shopping.
Once you have completed your list, consider how each task has been changed by your disability. Does somebody else handle the task? Have you had to modify how often you handle a task? Do you need assistance handling a task? Do you experience anxiety when faced with a task? Does the task cause you physical pain?
Social/Leisure activities include spending time with friends and family members, playing sports, going for walks, going to the movies, participating in religious functions, and cultivating a hobby. Ask yourself whether any of your social/leisure activities have been affected by your impairment. Are there any activities you have stopped doing because of your disability? Are there any activities you do with less frequency? Are there any activities that are less enjoyable because of your disability? Have any of your personal relationships been negatively impacted by your disability?
Personal care includes activities such as bathing, dressing, brushing your teeth, and shaving. Ask yourself if any of these tasks are made more difficult by your disability. Do you need assistance with personal care? Did you ever need assistance in the past? Do you use any assistive devices to complete these tasks? Have you become less conscientious about any areas of your personal care because of your impairment?
After brainstorming and listing all of the questions related to your daily activities, ask your Lansing Social Security disability attorney to review the list with you and help you practice answering the questions. Answering the questions aloud is important preparation for testifying in front of the ALJ, and it will help you and your Lansing Social Security disability attorney develop a fluid style of interaction as you practice together.
If you need an attorney to help you prepare for you disability hearing, please contact Lansing Social Security disability attorney.