Family members, friends, former co-workers, or neighbors may be able to help you qualify for Social Security disability benefits by testifying at your hearing. The Social Security Administration acknowledges that the observations of people who know you can help the ALJ understand how a medical impairment affects your ability to work.
There are a number of topics that such a lay witness can testify about at your hearing. Previously, we mentioned these three: your RFC; the onset date of your disability; your past relevant work. Here are four more:
If you have a mental impairment, such as depression or bi-polar disorder, lay witness testimony can be important in describing your daily activities, ability to function socially, attentiveness, perseverance or pace, and capacity to handle stress and anxiety.
The Social Security Administration recognizes family and friends as reliable sources of information about how your symptoms affect your daily activities. These individuals can report on what causes and aggravates your symptoms, how your symptoms limit what you can do, how they affected your work attendance and your efforts to work, and how you have responded to treatment.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, the Social Security rulings detail that observation and testimony from neighbors, friends, relatives, or clergy, as well as past employers, rehabilitation counselors and teachers may be very valuable in assessing your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
Similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, the Social Security rulings recognize lay witnesses as a source of information about a claimant’s day-to-day functioning in cases involving reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The rulings unambiguously permit evidence from neighbors, friends, relatives, clergy, past employers, rehabilitation counselors or teachers regarding the claimant’s impairment, capacity to function on a day-to-day basis and capacities over a period of time.
The expertise and experience of an Ocala Social Security disability lawyer is invaluable when eliciting testimony from lay witnesses regarding your impairments and your inability to perform sustained work on a regular and continuing basis. For an evaluation of your case, contact dedicated Ocala Social Security disability lawyer Claudeth J. Henry for an initial consultation.