|Natalia Jofre:||Hello, and welcome to the Hill and Ponton Social Security Disability blog. I’m Natalia Jofre, the Director for our Social Security section.|
|Shelly Mark:||I am Shelly Mark. I am the Senior Social Security Attorney.|
|Natalia Jofre:||In the last couple of videos we’ve done, we’ve been talking about the hearing level, what happens at the hearing level, who can be in the room, or who is normally within the hearing. We’ve talked about the judge, the court reporter, the claimant, a medical expert, and a vocational expert. The other person that can be in a hearing is a witness.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s correct.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Sometimes people want to have witnesses at their hearings. Not all judges want witnesses. Can you tell people a little bit about how that works?|
|Shelly Mark:||Sure. Everyone has a right to have a witness testify on their behalf. However, there is a little bit of, I wouldn’t say reluctance, but the judges really prefer to hear all the testimony from the claimant themselves. They usually don’t really need a witness, unless there’s going to be some information given that is in addition to the claimant’s testimony.|
|In situations to where maybe someone is not verbal, that’s very important. We’ve had cases with mental health, to where maybe the person doesn’t find their symptoms as severe as their spouse or their parent does. We definitely need a witness in those cases.|
|One thing that we do is we will do a third party statement right before the hearing, and we’ll have the spouse or the parent write a statement. We’ll turn that into the judge right before the hearing, and then we’ll ask the judge at the hearing, “Do you want to speak to this person?” Most of the time they’ll say no, that the statement is sufficient.|
|Natalia Jofre:||That’s great. Normally, the witness is going to be a family member or a very close friend. Normally in Social Security Disability hearings, other than the medical expert or the vocational expert that the judge orders, you don’t have to take your own physicians to testify on your behalf, or your own employer. Lots of times people ask us about that. That’s really not the case, right?|
|Shelly Mark:||No, no, that’s not the case. If it was a witness that you would be calling, it would usually just be a third party. The person that’s closest to them, that can give the judge some more information. Really with the doctors, all we really need to submit is a narrative or a statement from the doctor about the client’s symptoms.|
|Natalia Jofre:||The only other situation that comes to mind is obviously if the claimant is a child. If the child, obviously under age 18, normally then the primary person testifying is the parent, but the child is normally asked to be in the room.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Right, so that they can observe them?|
|Shelly Mark:||Right. In a lot of the cases that I’ve had that are children, the judge wants to speak to the child as well. Usually, they do take testimony of the child and the parent. In some cases, we have parents that want to do all of the talking for the child, and that may not be the way it actually plays out in the hearing. The judge may actually go to the child for testimony.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Okay, great. In our next video blog, we’re going to be discussing what happens after the hearing. We’ll see you then and we thank you for joining us.|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
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