Ready, Set, React: Your Comprehensive Guide to Disability Judge Trick Questions

disability judge trick questions

The complicated nature of the Social Security disability questions may contribute to applicants providing incorrect or partial responses, contributing to the low acceptance rate.

And if you are a Social Security disability applicant awaiting a disability hearing, think about possible tricky questions a disability judge may ask.

Our guide will completely help you understand the questions asked by disability judges, how to answer them correctly, and the resources you need to do well in your appeals process.

What Happens in a Disability Hearing?

Disability appeal hearings are legal processes, but they differ extensively from trials. These hearings are frequently held by local SSDI hearing offices and specialized centers rather than in traditional courtrooms.

The disability judge will review your case before the hearing to ensure it has everything they need to decide.

Before deciding, the court will consider the medical records and your statements during the hearing.

The time duration of the hearing may last from 5 minutes to almost an hour, varying upon the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses.

I-485 Application to register permanent residence

What Should One Expect From an Administrative Law Judge?

Administrative law judges (ALJ) is the specialized term for disability law judges, who use their extensive understanding of Social Security Administration guidelines.

When claimants obtain their hearing date, the ALJ who will preside over their case is also appointed.

On the day of the disability appeal hearing, they will meet with the ALJ in person or opt to have the hearing over the phone or through a video call.

The disability claimant will be asked detailed questions about their medical record, symptoms, and everyday functioning.

Usually, the ALJ speaks first, followed by your disability lawyer, but it could also work the other way around.

Disability Judge Trick Questions

If you are ready for whatever inquiries they are likely to ask, you can present your case with more confidence and a better possibility of success.

The word “Trickyhere doesn’t mean that they don’t want that you should get disability benefits. The ALJ asks these questions to assess your eligibility for disability compensation.

No matter who asks the questions, whether it’s your attorney or the judge, there are some things you should know and be able to talk about clearly and correctly.

First, let’s go through some common kinds of trick questions,

Insurance agent and disabled woman

Personal Background Questions

The claimant’s abilities, limits and future employment may all be gleaned from answers to a few basic questions, such as their name, age, weight, height, home address, and level of education.

Answer these questions confidently and honestly as they give your ALJ basic information.

Work Background Questions

A judge will investigate all jobs lasting more than 15 months, focusing on the most recent work history. They can view earnings records and jog your memory about dates and company names. Such as,

  • Do you now have a job?
  • Name the past work you had before your onset date. What did you do at that job, and why did you stop working there?
  • How much sitting, standing, lifting, walking, or operating of tools did your last job require?
  • Have you tried to work after the onset of your disability?
  • If yes, how often have you tried getting a job, what was the nature of job duties, and why didn’t it work out?

These questions clarify job history or if the judge disagrees that your medical condition isn’t severe enough for SSDI. They may think you can earn more than the monthly SSDI limit.

The most significant way to address these questions is to show that you can’t work at least the Substantial Gato show activity (SGA) requirement. Highlight your limits that prevent you from performing reliably under any conditions.

Our exclusive article provides information on working while getting disability benefits.

Specific Activity Limitation Questions

  • What kind of activities do you do?
  • Have you traveled anywhere that is over an hour away from home?
  • How far can you walk or drive? 
  • How long does it take you to get dressed? Do you need help?
  • What household chores do you do?
  • Do you attend church?
  • How long have you been unable to do these things?

These questions are asked during a disability appeal hearing to gather information about your functional limitations, daily activities, and ability to work.

Many disability attorneys advise that when you mention any specific activity, you should also clarify any limitations you have or any assistance you require which prevents you from living an everyday, independent life.

Medical History-Related Questions

You can anticipate that the ALJ will be interested in your medical history.

  • What is your disability?
  • When did it start, and how has it progressed?
  • What limitations does it cause, and how it affects you?
  • Do you smoke or drink alcohol?
  • What treatments do you utilize?

The intensity and regularity of your symptoms will be of particular relevance to the judge’s questions.

The best is to describe how your symptoms and condition have changed over time and how even on good days, you are impacted by your condition and cannot maintain your usual routine without assistance.

Medical Treatment Questions

  • How long have you been seeing a physician? And how often
  • What medications do you take? How much do you take, how often do you take it, and do you experience any side effects?
  • Are you taking your medications as prescribed?

The purpose of such questions is to assess the uniformity of your medical treatment.

Highlight how you are taking charge of your health by following the doctor’s suggestions, attending therapy or rehabilitation, and getting frequent checkups.

Other Questions

Some other types of questions can also be asked, such as,

  • Describe a typical day for me.
  • Do you take care of any children or elders?
  • How do you manage your finances? Or can you manage your finances?

Explain how your condition affects your life and the duties you must fulfill.

Strategies to Answer Tricky Questions Effectively

Trick questions from a disability judge can be hard to deal with, but if you take the correct approach, you can answer with confidence and reasoning. Consider the following strategies in your disability hearings,

  • Listen carefully to the judge’s questions to ensure you fully understand them. Ask for repetition if needed.
  • Stay honest and give clear answers. If a question can be answered with “yes” or “no,” do that. If not, explain.
  • Your answers can be more convincing and persuasive if you use facts from your real life.
  • Be as detailed as possible about your limitations, symptoms, and treatment but don’t exaggerate.
  • Stay on the subject at hand, and don’t give vague or contradictory answers. Give yourself time to think before you answer, and ensure your responses reflect your point of view.
  • Don’t use “always,” “never,” or “it’s hard to say” kinds of words while answering, as it gives a negative impression. Always prefer using the words such as “typically,” “usually,” or “sometimes.”
  • Bring medical evidence and letters from doctors, and other necessary proof to the hearing that can back your claims and offer credibility.

Attorney Walter Rudolph gives some tips to answer tricky questions in the above video.


Your chances of winning the disability case increase if you are well-prepared and aware of the most tricky questions that come to you.

Always do your best, to tell the truth, back up your claims with evidence, and get legal advice if needed. Doing so will increase the chances of the disability benefits you are legally entitled to.