Top Tips to Navigate Disability Judge Trick Questions

by Calvin on January 5, 2023

Many applications for Social Security disability insurance benefits are denied, despite the person’s chronic pain levels or diagnoses. This is an unfortunate reality we live in. Thankfully, it is possible to appeal their decision and receive your due benefits.

One crucial part of the appeals process is attending a Social Security disability (SSDI) hearing. The disability claimant must appear before a judge and show evidence to back their claim. Still, only about a quarter of people who appeal the initial decision are awarded their benefits.

Disability judges are very stringent in upholding disability standards and are quick to weed out claimants that they deem dubious. Although this is done to prevent fraud, it unfortunately makes disability hearings difficult to navigate.

If you are preparing for a hearing to argue your case for disability benefits, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unheard. However, with the right preparation, practice, and support, you have a chance to leave the hearing successfully. Continue reading to learn how to prepare with confidence, what you should and should not do during your hearing, where you can find support and more.

How to Prepare Your Case Confidently

Preparation is key to justifying your claims and winning your appeal. Below are some tips to help your prepare for your case confidently:

  • Review all documents you submitted.
  • Review the reasons given regarding your claim denial.
  • Prepare detailed notes about your work and disability.
  • Gather concrete proof to back your claims, like medical records.

If your doctor provides written and signed statements regarding your condition and how it prevents you from working, this will also be a huge help. You may also request a statement from your employer on what your work responsibilities entail.

It also helps to practice speaking clearly and explaining your stance concisely. For example, searching online for “what will I be asked during an appeal” is a great way to practice your answers and figure out what supporting documents you will need to prepare.

The Do’s And Don’ts During an SSDI Hearing

Aside from what to say and what not to say during the hearing, there are other do’s and don’ts you need to remember when preparing and practicing for your appeal. Here are the most important.

DO:

  • Stay on the subject.
  • Answer clearly and concisely.
  • Be as specific as possible without rambling.
  • Stay calm, regardless of what you are asked.
  • Avoid absolutes or words like “never,” “always,” or “impossible.”

DON’T:

  • Give any vague answers.
  • Exaggerate your symptoms.
  • Exhibit a sense of entitlement during the hearing.
  • Arrive without your necessary documents.
  • Answer angrily or shout.

10 Trick Questions a Disability Judge May Ask

Once you’re in the hearing room, social security disability judges will usually inquire about your current or past work, what your job entails, your current medical condition, and any limitations that are preventing you from working as normal. They may take into account the opinions of a medical professional or a vocational expert.

However, those aren’t the only things they can ask about. Some judges often use confusing language to trick you into weakening your claim or revealing a loophole so they can once again deny your disability benefits.

If you are worried about trick questions, below are the ten most common curveballs they might throw so you can familiarize yourself with them and rehearse your answers:

  1. Why can you not work?
  2. What kind of activities do you do?
  3. How do you get your food and other essentials?
  4. Can you drive? Do you own a car?
  5. Have you traveled anywhere that is over an hour away from home?
  6. Do you go to church?
  7. Do you smoke or drink alcohol?
  8. What medications were you prescribed? Are you taking all of your medications?
  9. How long does it take you to get dressed? Do you need help?
  10. Do you live with and care for children or an elderly parent? How do you care for them during daily living?

When answering the judge, it is important to be honest-lying, whether outright or by omission, will weaken your disability case-especially since the judge likely already knows the actual answers.

Answer truthfully and explain discrepancies as specifically but concisely as possible. For example, if you are unable to work due to pain or injury and cannot drive or go shopping, you can explain that you get your basic supplies delivered to your home.

Do I Need a Disability Attorney to Win My Case?

Disability benefit appeal hearings may be formal judicial proceedings, but they are not court trials. In fact, these appeals are not even held in court, but in a regular office room with an administrative law judge. As such, hiring a disability lawyer is not required for disability appeal hearings. (If you need a disability lawyer for anything else, here’s how you can find a disability lawyer for free.)

However, having one in your corner can significantly improve your chances of winning your case.

Aside from a lawyer, enlisting the help of a worker from the Social Security Administration, disability representative, or an advocate organization can also help your Social Security disability hearing—especially if they have experience navigating such cases.

A professional can ensure that you have your medical evidence and other supporting documents prepared, give you more tips, and help you prepare for the upcoming appeal.

How Can Trajector Help Me?

Trajector has been helping thousands of people win their Social Security disability claim cases over many years. Our organization is well-experienced in helping clients navigate the tricky appeals process and receive their due benefits.

Trajector offers a wide range of services to help you receive the disability benefits you are medically, legally, and ethically qualified for. Contact us via [email protected] today for a free consultation to learn more about how you can win your disability benefits.