If you have an ongoing disability or SSI claim, you’ll most likely be going through an interview soon. The SSA uses your answers in this interview to better determine your eligibility for benefits.
If the SSA is satisfied with your answers, they’ll approve your claim. But if your answers contradict each other or your medical evidence, your chances of getting benefits are slim.
As such, giving the right answers will increase your chances of getting benefits.
To do this, however, you need to be familiar with common SSDI and SSI interview questions. If you know what questions to expect, you’ll be able to prepare better answers.
To help you out, we’re listing down some of the most common disability and SSI interview questions and how to answer them.
Common Disability Interview Questions
When you’re applying for SSDI, the SSA will need to determine if you really are disabled. This is also true if you’re claiming SSI due to disability.
Here are some of the most common interview questions the SSA will ask to asses your disability:
1. When did you last work?
Your answer to this question will help the SSA determine your disability onset date.
In SSDI, the disability onset date determines when your benefit should have started. The usual onset date is the first day you are unable to work because your condition has become disabling.
2. What medical tests have you had?
Of course, the SSA will ask about the medical tests you’ve had to determine if your diagnosis was based on proper medical tests.
3. Can you give me details of your visits to the doctors?
During the interview, the SSA will expect you to give them a rundown of:
- the names, addresses, and contact details of your doctors
- the dates of your visits
All these will let the SSA know that you are faithfully seeking treatment for your condition and are not trying to prolong your condition just to collect benefits.
4. What medications are you taking?
The medications you’re taking indicate your medical condition and its severity. This will give the SSA a better idea of how disabling your condition is.
5. What treatments have you received for your condition?
Like medications, the treatments you’ve received will tell the SSA more about your condition. It will also let them gauge whether your condition will still improve.
6. Where did you work before you become disabled?
Providing the details of your last employer will help the SSA track them down and confirm certain details in your claim.
7. What were your duties and responsibilities?
The kind of job you had before your disability will also affect your eligibility for benefits. If you’re working a desk job but your condition only limits your ability to bend or stoop, you may still be able to work. So, the SSA may not be that keen to approve your claim.
8. Are your conditions related to a work injury?
If your condition is related to a work injury, you need to disclose it to the SSA. This will give them a better idea of the severity of your condition and your chances of recovery.
9. Have you received workers compensation for your injury?
Workers’ compensation and other public benefits can affect your SSDI benefit amount. So the SSA will also want to know about this.
10. How far did you go in school?
Your level of education affects your employment opportunities. Even if your condition prevents you from going back to your job, you may still be capable of doing other types of work. In such a case, you may not be able to meet the SSA’s definition of disability.
Usual SSI Interview Questions
As you know, SSI is a needs-based benefit. So to decide on your claim, the SSA will assess if you really are in need.
Here are some of the questions often asked in an SSI interview:
1. Are you married?
SSI benefits for eligible individuals differ from eligible couples. So the SSA will usually ask about your marital status.
2. What is your current living arrangement?
Are you renting? living with relatives? Do you own your home? Your living arrangement gives the SSA a better idea of your financial status.
For instance, if you’re living in a homeless shelter or in a public park, it means you don’t have enough resources to afford rent. This increases your chance of getting approved for SSI.
3. How many people are currently in your house?
If you’re living with other people, the number of people in your household can affect your spending power and your quality of life.
Say, you have ten children who are all living with you. If you are the breadwinner, that means you have ten more mouths to feed apart from yourself. So getting SSI benefits will be a huge help in your case.
4. How much do you usually spend on household expenses?
Your household expenses can also be a gauge of your financial status. If you’re spending more than the SSI income limit, it could mean that you’re earning more than that amount. In such cases, your chances of getting approved for SSI are rather slim.
5. What are your current sources of income?
Income, in SSI, refers to anything you receive during a calendar month that can be used to meet your basic needs. It can be in cash or in kind, such as food and shelter or anything that you can use to get food and shelter.
6. How much do you earn per month?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions that the SSA will ask.
As you know, you can only qualify for SSI if you’re earning below a certain amount of income per month. In 2023, the SSI income limit is $914 per month for an eligible individual and $1,371 for an eligible couple. If you’re earning more than this, you won’t qualify for SSI.
7. What are your spouse’s current sources of income?
If you’re living together, the SSA will also take into account your spouse’s income to determine your eligibility for SSI.
8. Do you have any other resources?
To qualify for SSI, you need not only have a limited income. You also need to have limited resources. So you can expect the SSA to ask about:
- your bank account balance
- any vehicles you own
- any real properties in your name
- any other assets or investments
Tips When Answering SSI Interview Questions
Ready to ace your SSI interview? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Stick to the truth
Lying in your SSI interview constitutes fraud, especially if it’s a misrepresentation of a material fact. Instead of getting financial assistance, you could end up paying steep fines, or worse, behind bars.
Besides, it’s much easier to keep your stories straight if you’re telling the truth. Remember that the SSA staff probably does this interview multiple times a day. So they can easily tell if you’re lying or not.
2. Don’t exaggerate
Exaggerating your condition or financial situation may only do more harm than good. Remember that they have copies of your actual medical records. They can easily compare your statements with what your doctor says, and you probably know who they’ll believe.
3. Keep your calm
It’s inevitable to get nervous during your SSI interview. But you need to calm your nerves as much as possible. Keep your head clear so you can answer the questions clearly and more thoroughly.
4. Prepare a copy of your documents and medical evidence on had
During the interview, you could be asked to provide specific details like dates, names, and amounts. So having a copy of your documents will be handy.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.