Vocational Expert In The Social Security Disability Appeal Process

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Judge with a gavel making a decision during a social security disability appeal

A Vocational Expert’s Role In Social Security Disability Appeal

To start with, a vocational expert, or VE, is a consultant hired by the Social Security Administration to explain his or her opinion about your ability to work based on your impairments. A VE will testify at your Social Security Disability Appeal hearing based on the job availability in the current labor market and their knowledge of the skills needed to perform certain jobs in that market. The vocational expert’s opinion is very important because the entire outcome of the case hinges on their testimony about your ability to work.

Questioning the Vocational Expert at the Hearing

At the hearing, the administrative law judge will ask the vocational expert questions concerning your ability to work based on certain documented work restrictions called hypotheticals. They will then provide examples of the most basic physical requirements needed to perform within a given job market. In addition, they would list a number of hypothetical jobs that a person with those abilities should be able to perform. During this stage of the Social Security Disability appeals process, the ALJ will question the vocational expert. Based upon the deliberation of these hypotheticals, the VE will form an opinion on the claimant’s ability to work.

Social Security Disability Appeals: Cross-examining the VE

This is where having a disability attorney with knowledge and experience can really play into your favor. At this point, the disability lawyer will have a chance to cross-examine the VE, so that if, for instance, when the VE argues that you can perform certain jobs, the attorney will ask a series of hypotheticals based on your medical records to counter the VE’s testimony. In most Social Security Disability appeal hearings, the ALJ won’t review your records until the morning of your hearing.

How A Disability Attorney Uses Hypotheticals To Help You Win

Because an attorney is more familiar with your medical record than the ALJ, they should be able to use supporting facts that the ALJ may have overlooked. These facts will then be used to create hypotheticals that could lead the VE to state that you, in fact, aren’t able to perform any jobs at all. As you can see, the Social Security Disability appeals process is very complicated. That being said, without skilled and experienced legal representation, it would be extremely difficult for a claimant to do this on their own.

A Good Disability Attorney Can Play Up Your Case’s Strengths

Another important thing to consider is that many times a disability attorney will be familiar with the personalities and decision-making processes of the administrative law judges in their area. They could have handled cases in front of a particular ALJ before. This standing rapport and understanding of the ALJ’s style in advance could really improve the chances of influencing a decision in your favor. Given the knowledge of the ALJ, an experienced attorney should know how to play up the strengths of your case to overshadow weak areas.

RGG Law Knows The Social Security Disability Appeals Process

Overall, the entire Social Security Disability Appeals process, is very nuanced and legally complicated at every stage. It is almost crucial to hire an experienced disability attorney to build an ironclad case and present it. Chances are that this is the only way your case will be approved under the scrutiny of an Administrative Law Judge and a vocational expert, unless you already meet one of SSA’s list of impairments. At RGG Law, you will find an expert team of Social Security Disability Attorneys who will be happy to hear your case. Schedule a free consultation now and let us fight for you.

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