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Sample Examination Questions

The practice items for the Social Security Administration Direct Payment to Non-Attorney Representatives Examination are available below. These items are for practice purposes only and will not appear on the actual examination. All names used in these practice items are purely fictional and do not apply to any real claimants or any other individual. The items are multiple choice and there is only 1 correct answer for each question. The actual examination will also appear in this format. Select the button under each question to reveal the answer. Refreshing the page will hide the answers.


Which statement best describes the term "severe" impairment?
  1. A combination of unrelated non-severe impairments with no impact on basic work activity may be considered a severe impairment because having multiple non-severe impairments can be much worse than having just one.
  2. A medically determinable impairment or a combination of impairments which prevents the ability to perform substantial gainful activity is considered "severe."
  3. An impairment or combination of impairments is only severe if the impairment significantly impacts at least one basic work activity.
  4. An impairment or combination of impairments is considered severe only if the impairment impacts several basic work activities.


You are representing your client at a hearing. A vocational expert (VE) is present. The ALJ asks if the VE has reviewed Exhibit 15F, which is a consultative psychological examination report, in which the psychologist opines that your client is capable of performing simple, repetitive, unskilled tasks that do not require ongoing contact with the public or coworkers. The VE states that he has reviewed this report. The ALJ asks if he agrees with the limitations that have been assessed, and the VE says that he does agree with the limitations contained in that report.

Which statement is most accurate about the ALJ's questioning of the VE?
  1. Proper, because a VE is qualified to assess the nature and severity of the limitations contained in the consultative examination report; they impact the claimant's ability to perform work-related activities.
  2. Proper, because the consultative examination report contains specific limitations that may be assessed in relation to the claimant's ability to perform past relevant work.
  3. Improper, because the ALJ has not established a proper foundation to question the VE about any exhibits.
  4. Improper, because the VE is offering his opinion about the relationship of the limitations to the clinical signs and findings, thus rendering an opinion on medical issues.


Mark Baum arrives at your office with a dismissal order dated three weeks ago. The order states that his request for a hearing on his Supplemental Security Income claim was not timely filed and the claimant's reasons for missing the deadline did not constitute good cause for late filing. He believes he did have good cause and asks you what he should do next.

You would advise Mr. Baum to
  1. file a new application because the Dismissal Order is final and not subject to appeal.
  2. file a request for Appeals Council review of the Dismissal Order pursuant to 20 CFR 416.1467.
  3. file a new application because the ALJ ruled on the issue of good cause and the Appeals Council will not review such a ruling.
  4. do nothing because there are no appeal rights on a dismissal of this kind, and a new application would be duplicative and dismissed for res judicata.


An ALJ authorizes a representative to charge and collect $2,000 for his representational services for a claim for disability insurance benefits. SSA directly pays the representative $2,000. Six months later, SSA erroneously paid the representative an additional $2,000 based upon the same claim. One year after issuing the erroneous payment, SSA sends a letter to the representative informing him of the excess fee payment and requesting a refund within 30 days.

What should the representative do?
  1. Request that SSA subtract $2,000 from any future representation fee.
  2. Request that SSA increase his authorized fee to $4,000 so that he can retain the money.
  3. Refund the $2,000 excess payment to SSA within 30 days, as requested.
  4. Retain the additional $2,000 because SSA's refund request is barred by the statute of limitations.