Your Ocala Social Security lawyer may ask your family members, friends, former co-workers or neighbors to testify at your Social Security disability hearing. These people are called lay witnesses, to distinguish them from expert witnesses, like a doctor or vocational expert. Your Ocala Social Security disability lawyer will get your thoughts on who might be good lay witnesses for your case. Then your lawyer will talk to these people to see if they are willing to testify and will make good witnesses.
Social Security rulings recognize that ALJ’s should consider lay witness testimony. In evaluating lay witness testimony, ALJs are to “consider such factors as the nature and extent of the relationship, whether the evidence is consistent with other evidence, and any other factors that tend to support or refute the evidence.”
While the Social Security Administration’s policy on lay witness testimony is clear, many ALJs resist taking evidence from lay witnesses at hearings. Moreover, many ALJ decisions fail to even mention significant lay witness testimony or important letters from lay witnesses. Fortunately, cases in which the administrative law judge failed to give proper consideration to lay testimony have been remanded by the federal courts. In fact, the federal court in one case awarded benefits to a disability claimant based on the strength of lay evidence that was ignored by the administrative law judge.
The expertise and experience of an Ocala Social Security disability lawyer is invaluable when eliciting testimony from lay witnesses regarding your impairments and your inability to perform sustained work on a regular and continuing basis, and can be the difference between winning and losing your Florida disability case. To evaluate the facts specific to your case, contact dedicated Ocala Social Security disability lawyer Claudeth J. Henry for an initial consultation.