Social Security Disability Rule #1: Always Present Yourself In An Honest And Accurate Manner

This information is part one of a three-part series titled Social Security Disability Rules. For parts two and three, click the links below:

SSD Rule #2: Always Be Courteous, Cooperative and Compliant with Your Treatment Providers
SSD Rule #3: Answer Questions from Social Security



When pursuing Social Security Disability benefits, it is very important to present yourself in an honest and accurate manner. 

First of all, when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you are subject to criminal liability for potentially false statements that you make to Social Security. For example, if you claim that you have not worked for two years when in actuality you have been working full-time under the table, you will be committing fraud.  

The most common problem is when people overstate or exaggerate their symptoms or conditions. 

At this point in time, I have handled over 1,000 ALJ hearings for Social Security Disability matters. Of these cases, there have been circumstances where by the time of the hearing, my client’s conditions have deteriorated to the point where they are basically invalid as they not only cannot work, but they also have profound limitations on their day-to-day functions. 

I have also had circumstances where at the time of the hearing, the claimant lacks any real strong argument that they are in fact disabled.  

For the vast majority of my cases, however, clients come to hearings with a legitimate argument and medical support for why they are disabled, yet their cases contain facts and/or medical records which do not support their claim for disability.

The purpose of the hearing is to give the Administrative Law Judge an opportunity to ask you questions relative to your claim. It is also our opportunity to present our case to the ALJ.

The single biggest mistake that people make in their Social Security Disability case is when they fail to present themselves in an honest and accurate manner. 

Do not exaggerate your condition. 

One example of exaggeration that you hear during a hearing is when claimants are asked to rate their pain on a scale of 1-10. Stating that your pain is a 10 all of the time is a terrible exaggeration. Such exaggerations will likely lead the ALJ to not believe other things that you state during the hearing. 

Your case likely has facts which help and hurt your claim. If your truthful and accurate testimony leads the ALJ to deny your claim, that is likely because you are not disabled. 

On the other hand, if you exaggerate your symptoms, that may lead the ALJ to deny you claim even though you meet the standard of disability. 

Although we can never know precisely why an ALJ grants or denies a claim, I believe that some of my clients over the years have lost their cases due solely to their exaggerations during the hearing.

Always present yourself in an honest and accurate matter. 

For more information on how to apply for Social Security disability or appeal a denial in Wisconsin, please contact Tim Geary at Geary Disability Law.

Disclaimer: Blog entries are not intended to be a substitute for actual legal advice. It is important for a representative to understand the specific facts and circumstances of your case before they can provide you actual legal advice.  If you have questions about your Social Security Disability, please contact a qualified representative to discuss your case.

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