Your testimony: On sitting

At disability hearings, some people testify that they need to shift their bodies when sitting for long periods in a chair. But everyone needs and tends to shift when sitting in chairs for prolonged periods. There is virtually no vocational significance in this testimony.

Consider this answer to a question about sitting instead:

Judge: How long can you usually sit for?

Claimant: Well, if I try really hard, I can sit here for an hour tops. But then I’ll have to go home and lie down and can’t do anything for the rest of the day. At home, I only sit for about 20 minutes at a time and then I have to walk around for 15 or 20 minutes before I can sit again. If I had a job, the length of time that I could sit would get shorter as the day wore on. Sitting is just really hard on my back. I find it slightly easier to sit in my recliner with my legs up. I could sit in that chair for a much longer time but I couldn’t, for example, write letters or type well sitting in that type of chair.

You should also testify about what you need to do after sitting for a while. Can you sit back down and continue working after a stroll or some stretching? If so, how often do you need to walk around?  Do you need to alternate sitting and standing all day?

At most jobs, workers can take quick breaks every couple of hours. Do you need extra breaks from work? What would you need to do during such breaks? Sit? Walk around? Lie down? Sit in a recliner? How long does each break need to last?

The judge may ask you how long you can sit during an 8-hour working day, even if the sitting is sporadic. You’ll have to think carefully about this before the hearing so that you can give a realistic estimate. You may even want to start a journal to record the periods of time that you can sit at home. The judge may also ask similar questions about your ability to stand.

You can contact Philadelphia Social Security disability lawyers Silver & Silver here for more information about how to prepare for a disability hearing.