The vast majority of social security disability cases are awarded or denied by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) reviewing and then determining if the claimant is credible. This is especially true if the medical impairments alleged by the claimant do not meet or equal the severity required by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, the ALJ is the first person in the social security disability process that actually meets the claimant to access their credibility and determine if the claimant is unable to work. Therefore, the average claimant waits two to three for an informal Administrative Hearing with the ALJ. As discussed above, the ALJ has to decide if he or she believes the claimant can work or not. For this reason, almost all judges at the Administrative Hearing will ask the claimant if they have children. The ALJ ask if the claimant has children for the following reasons:
• Being a stay at home parent can be difficult. Children require meal preparation and possible transportation to and from school. Additionally, younger children have to dressed, bathed, and changed. Children need to be picked up and watched throughout the day. The responsibilities of taking care of children is very similar to full-time work. The ALJ wants to understand why you cannot work. If you are taking care of your children without any help, the ALJ might think you can work.
• The ALJ will want to know what sort of help the mother or father are receiving for taking care of their children. This is especially true for single parents. So do not be surprised if the ALJ asks you this question. The ALJ is just assuming that if the mother or father cannot work then they are unable to take care of their children solely on their own. If you have friends, family members or neighbors come over to help you with your children make sure you tell the ALJ.
• The ALJ wants to know if the claimant had any children since the claimant applied for disability or since the claimant alleges they become unable to work. Again, the ALJ is trying to determine credibility and if the claimant cannot work. If the claimant states that they cannot work and then has a child in the process of applying for disability benefits it could create suspicion to the ALJ that the claimant is not credible. This is true because the average person is not going to have a child when they know that they cannot work and pay for the care of the child.
• The ALJ is also concerned with how being pregnant affects the claimant’s ability to take prescribed medications. For example, some medications cannot be taken when the mother is pregnant. However, the SSA reviews and determines if the claimant can work with proper medical treatment and when the claimant is taking all prescribed medications. Therefore, the ALJ may believe that a pregnant mother could work if she was able to take all of her medications on a regular basis.