Having represented thousands of Social Security claimants in hearings, I have concluded that one expression, above all, is the most despised by Administrative Law Judges. The express is: “It’s been a while.” This vague evasion almost always undercuts your credibility as a witness.
This is what we hear:
When is the last time you were paid to do some work? “It’s been a while.”
When is the last time you used crack cocaine? “It’s been a while.”
When is the last time you cut someone’s hair? “It’s been a while.”
You get the idea.
The judges need to know a timeline of when certain events have occurred. The proper response is to try to offer at least a month and a year. If you can anticipate these questions, try to give some thought to the answers before the hearing. That way, you won’t be stuck saying, “It’s been a while,” when you need to be informing the court about the timeline of the critical events in your case.
Questions about chronology are the most difficult questions that you may encounter, so it shouldn’t surprise you that most answer may be vague. The less you test the judge’s patience, however, the more credible you will be. With a little help from a lawyer, you will at least have an idea of which time-oriented questions to expect.
If you need help with your disability claim or have a scheduled hearing, let the legal team at Don Pilzer Law help you. Call us today.