Claimant’s witnesses at the SSA hearing

Posted on July 26th, 2018

Some representatives love to call lots of witnesses to testify on your behalf. Again, I believe this is a matter of style or preference, but I am very happy with my outcomes over 43 years. More often than not, if you have witnesses, the ALJ will sequester the witness outside of the hearing room while you testify. If so, the ALJ can play the “Newlywed Game”, asking you and the witness certain reasonably simple questions, like what was the las movie you went to, when was your last vacation, etc.. No matter how long you have been married, live with the witness, etc., I am reasonably willing to bet there are major differences in the testimony, hence someone is “lying”, therefore not credible, so also giving the ALJ a basis to discredit all of your testimony. Also, no matter how long married, etc., only you feel your pain, fatigue, etc.. The best a spouse, etc., can say is you look like you are in pain, but he or she cannot fee the pain. Again, reasonably, if the ALJ does not believe your testimony as to pain, fatigue, etc., the ALJ is not likely to believe it more just because you have one or more witnesses. Every ALJ has his or her own deliberative process before and after the hearing. They review the files and sometimes come to some degree of conclusion that you could be approved, denied, onset changed, etc.. Some ALJ’s make up their mind during the hearing, when they leave the hearing room to go to their office, or sometime later after they review the file and testimony in more detail. However, they do this, you want them to have the most favorable impression about you as a client. You do not want to make the ALJ perturbed with you when he make that decision, whenever because you “wasted” his time with unnecessary witnessed, you made him/her get behind in the schedule. However, when you have a pure pain/credibility claim, with little or no objective findings in support, than all bets are off. That is not a very strong case when there are little or no objective findings so you have little to lose by having witnesses. Regardless, still be judicious in use of witnesses even in not so great cases.