Why Does the Disability Judge ask Hypothetical Questions to the VE?

The questions the judge asks the VE require a two step process.  First, the judge must consider how your medical conditions affect you physically and mentally by stating your residual functioning capacity (RFC).  Second, the judge looks at whether you could work despite those limitations.  The judge asks the VE hypothetical questions because they have not made a final decision on how your conditions affect you.

The judge might ask the VE more than one hypothetical question.  You or your attorney might also ask the VE hypothetical questions.  Each hypothetical question is a list of limitations that your conditions might cause.  A key part of winning your case is asking a question that gets the VE to say that a person with the hypothetical limitations could not work.  The next step is convincing the disability judge that those hypothetical limitations match your actual limitations.

The disability judge who decides your case can reject the VE’s testimony, if the judge rejects the VE’s testimony he or she must explain why in a written decision.  Because VEs specialize in work issues it is difficult for judges to throw out their responses to the hypothetical questions.  If a VE gives testimony that hurts your case you can persuade the judge that the VE is incorrect, but you should also remember that the VE was only answering hypothetical questions.  You can win your claim by persuading the judge that your medical conditions limit you more than the judge previously thought.

This entry was posted in Capability to Work (Step 5), Past Relevant Work (Step 4), Questions & Answers, Vocational or Work Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

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