Back in May, 2014 I released a video about trick questions from Social Security disability judges and I continue to receive a great deal of feedback and comments on that video. In the 2014 video I talked about one type of trick questions but there are many examples you should know about – thus this new video.
My experience has been that disability judges are not trying to treat you unfairly with their questions, but instead, use their experience and knowledge to ask probing and incisive questions. More specifically they want to assess your credibility by asking questions to which they already know the answer so they can see how you respond.
Many of these questions relate to your medical record – comments you may have made to your doctor about work attempts, stopping bad habits like smoking or marijuana use, or even about how you are feeling on a particular day. You may have forgotten about that quick conversation you had with your doctor 2 years ago, but there is a good possibility that your doctor wrote down the substance of what you said.
If you exaggerate or worse, lie, the judge will likely conclude that he/she cannot believe anything you say. Under no circumstances should you try to mislead or outsmart an experienced and savvy judge.
My experience has also been that disability claimants rarely lie, but they are often nervous and they try to give the judge an answer that they think the judge will like. This approach usually backfires.
I advise my clients not to try to create the perfect answer for the judge, but, instead, to tell the truth as thoroughly and completely as they can.
If the truth contains information that is not entirely supportive of your claim, so be it – we can practice how to present that information in a pre-hearing meeting.
In this video I peel back the layers and provide several examples of simple questions that judges use to catch you in an exaggeration or lie. If you understand what is going on with these questions, you will feel more comfortable not overthinking your testimony and simply fall back on reporting your symptoms and issues clearly and concisely.