Using Testimonies From Family, Friends And Coworkers In SSD Hearings
In determining your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration, and if necessary, the judge, will use a variety of evidence in coming to a conclusion. Medical reports and records are the most important kind of evidence, but vocational expert reports and the various Social Security forms in your file also give the administration or judge the most complete picture of your disability.
One important kind of evidence is the “lay” statement. The word “lay” signifies that it is not from a doctor or other professional. Instead, the statement is from someone who knows the disabled worker as an individual, and one whose life has dramatically changed because of the pain and limitations of your disability.
For questions about a proper “lay” statement and other documentation you may need for your SSD claim, talk to one of our NYC SSD attorneys today. Contact The Klein Law Group, P.C., for more information.
What Should Be in My ‘Lay’ Statement?
A lay statement can come from anyone who knows you well: those people who take care of you and who help you get through the day, your spouse, a relative, a close friend or neighbor, or clergyman or woman. You should always show any statement that you may want to submit to your lawyer.
It is best if the statement is only 1 or 2 pages. It should include details about what you were like, and what your life was like, before you became disabled. It should then describe how your disability and pain and limitations have changed the way you live, including how you interact with your family and friends, and how you have changed as a person. The person who writes the statement is not trying to make a legal argument to the judge, and is not trying to “prove” that you are disabled; rather, it’s an expression, with direct and honest emotion by someone who knows you, of the kind of tragic changes he or she sees in you since you became disabled.
This statement may be written in the “remarks” section of your forms and/or questionnaire packet. If you have a Social Security Disability attorney, it is critical that you review any statements made in the remarks section with your attorney.
Why Is It So Important to Have a ‘Lay’ Statement?
Although it isn’t necessary to have a “lay” statement in the Social Security file before a hearing, it can be very helpful. When the judge is reviewing your file before your hearing, and reading through your medical reports and other forms, you may come to seem like “just another case,” to him. However, an emotional and detailed description of who you are as an individual can impress upon the judge that you are not “just another case,” but a unique person whose suffering and struggles deserve the very best attention and consideration.