Q My family member knows everything that I go through. Can he testify during my hearing?
We always encourage claimants to bring family members or friends to the hearing for support. That family member can sit down with the claimant and the attorney before the hearing to discuss the case and help the claimant feel comfortable leading up to the hearing.
Believe it or not, there are only rare instances when a judge feels it is necessary to hear from someone other than the claimant. During the hearing, the ALJ wants to get to know the claimant and understand the difficulties she is facing because of her impairments. Often, testimony from an additional person only clouds the issues and takes attention away from the claimant's personal experiences. Also, it is inevitable that the family member's testimony will differ, at least slightly, from the claimant's testimony and an ALJ is permitted to use those inconsistencies to evaluate the claimant's credibility. That's why it is almost always best to focus the testimony on the claimant and bring family members or friends for support before and after the hearing.