If you know of a family member, friend, former employer or coworker, neighbor, clergyman, or other person who might be able and willing to testify on your behalf at your disability hearing, tell your Detroit disability lawyer about this person. The Social Security rules and regulations allow for the testimony of lay (non-expert) witnesses and specifically recognize the importance of this testimony with regard to the following issues:
- The onset date of your disability.
- Your present ability to work. A lay witness’ descriptions and observations of your impairment-related limitations may help in determining your “residual functional capacity.”
- The nature of your past relevant work.
- Your symptoms, including pain. Friends and family can describe their observations of your symptoms; your functional limitations; and your response to treatment and medication.
- If you have a mental impairment, the effect of that impairment on your daily activities, including, e.g., on your concentration and your ability to function in social situations.
- If you have chronic fatigue syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome), the impact of your impairment on your ability to function on a daily basis and over a period of time.
In weighing the testimony of a lay witness, the adminstrative law judge will evaluate the witness’ credibility, taking into account the nature and extent of your relationship with the witness and the degree to which the witness’ testimony is consistent with the other evidence in your case.
The observations of lay witnesses can paint a vivid picture of your restrictions, your daily activities, and your efforts to work. Your Detroit disability lawyer should help you identify these individuals and prepare them for the hearing process. If you are not currently represented by a Detroit disability lawyer, and you would like to talk with me about potential witnesses or any other aspect of your hearing, please contact me.