How to Handle Questions About Your Medical History

medical_QuestionAt your disability hearing before an administrative law judge, you might be asked questions about your medical history—or you might not be. If the judge has all your medical records from doctors, hospitals, and other relevant personnel who have treated you, the judge may decide to let your records speak for themselves. Your lawyer is responsible for ensuring that all the relevant medical documentation is included in the hearing exhibit file, and that there are letters from your doctors explaining the extent of your medical impairment and how it affects your ability to work.

The judge might ask some general questions about your medical history, such as how often you visit your treating doctor, what treatment has been prescribed to you, what medications (if any) you are taking, and whether the medication is effective for you. The judge might ask you to describe the symptoms you have experienced from your impairment since it began, what kinds of doctors you have seen, or if you have been hospitalized for treatment.

You will not have to explain complicated technical medical terminology to the judge. Don’t expect that you will have to explain in detail exactly what your doctor has told you, and don’t try to repeat what your friends have told or what you have read about your impairment from other sources—trying to describe this information second or third-hand might be inaccurate and could hurt your case, if you haven’t cleared that information with your disability lawyer first. If the judge asks you specifically what your doctor has told you about your impairment and its effects, try to quote what your doctor told you as accurately as possible.