Skip to main content

Social Security Disability Law Exam Structure

  • Six hours long (two three-hour sessions)
  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Morning Session

  • 15-20 short answer or short essay questions that vary widely in point value. Please use the point value assigned to determine how long (or short) your answer should be for any given question.

90-minute lunch break– on your own

Afternoon Session

  • 100 multiple choice questions – covering topics listed below
  • There are 500 points total on the examination, 250 points on each section of the examination. Passing score on the entire examination is 350 points.

* Copies of the Childhood and Adult Listings will be provided and may be used during both exam sessions.

Subject Matter

(A) Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act;

(B) Federal practice and procedure in Social Security disability cases;

(C) Medical proof of disability;

(D) Vocational aspects of disability;

(E)  Workers' compensation offset;

(F) Eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid;

(G) Eligibility for Social Security retirement and survivors’ benefits;

(H) Interaction of Social Security benefits with employee benefits (e.g., long term disability and back pay);

(I) Equal Access to Justice Act; and

(J) Fee collection and other ethical issues in Social Security practice.

Study Materials

The following are suggested for study:

  • Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act
  • The Equal Access to Justice Act
  • Social Security Regulations, particularly Subparts J and P of Regulation No. 4 (procedure and determination of disability) and Appendices 1 and 2 to Subpart P (the listings and "grid" regulations)
  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles

In general, an attorney with the experience needed to take the examination would probably have sufficient medical knowledge to answer the questions on the examination that require medical knowledge. If an attorney wishes to study for questions that require medical knowledge, the following may be helpful.

  • The Merck Manual
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM IV-TR), published by the American Psychiatric Association
  • A dictionary of medical acronyms, such as M.F. DeLong, Medical Acronyms, Eponyms and Abbreviations (4th edition).

Those taking the examination should assume the current statutes, regulations and interpretations in effect in North Carolina. Do not consider any planned or proposed changes in the appeals process.

The additional topics listed below may be tested may appear on the exam.

Social Security Disability Law Exam Topics

Acceptable medical sources

In forma pauperis

Adopted children

In-kind support and maintenance

Aged widows' benefits

Interim benefits


Magistrate jurisdiction

Appeals Council

Medicare qualified government employees

Approval for more than one type of
Title II benefit

More on medicine

Back benefits as SSI resources

Mother's benefits


Noncompliance with medical advice

Child's benefits

Objecting to CE

Child's SSI

Payment of SSI child benefits

Correcting earnings record

Payment of travel expenses

Death of claimant


Dedicated accounts


Deferred development at DDS

Sentence 4 vs. Sentence 6 remands

Deficits in adaptive functioning

Simultaneous entitelement to two or more benefits

Direct deposit

SSI income

Disabled widowers' benefits

SSI resources

Drug abuse and alcoholism

Staged payment of SSI back benefits

Earnings that may not represent SGA - sick pay, vacation pay, disability benefits, military wages while in medical holding company

Strength demands of jobs

Expedited processing,


Extended period of eligibility

Travel expense reimbursement

Failure to follow prescribed treatment

VR exception

Federal court

Weighing medical opinion evidence

Fugitive felon

Windfall offset

Illegitimate children