Why is a Vocational Expert Coming to Your Disability Hearing?

by Editorial Board on December 20, 2010 · 0 comments

in Questions & Answers,Past Relevant Work (Step 4),Capability to Work (Step 5),Vocational or Work Issues

A Vocational Expert (VE) is present at most Social Security disability hearings.  VEs are persons who are knowledgeable about the physical and mental demands of work and the numbers of particular jobs in the nation and your region.  Usually they have worked for programs that try to place people with disabilities into jobs.

The disability judge’s job is to determine whether your medical conditions prevent you from working, and so the judge must consider medical questions and work questions.  The VE is at the hearing to help with the work questions.  Sometimes one or two medical experts might also be present, but more often disability judges are doing their hearings with only a VE or no expert at all.

If there is a VE in your hearing they might not testify.  The judge could decide that you meet one of the Disability Listings or that your medical conditions are so severe that you clearly cannot work.

If the VE does testify, it will be about three basic questions. First, what work have you done in the past?  Second, do you have skills from your past work that could be transferred to other work?   Third, is their other work you might be able to do in spite of the limitations for your medical conditions?

Disability judges tend to rely on the VE’s testimony, which is why they ask them to attend the hearing in the first place.  Still, the judge has the final say in all issues in your case, including work issues.  The judge can reject vocational expert testimony if they think it is incorrect, and you or your disability attorney have the right to cross-examine the VE.

Post a comment below to share your thoughts on this subject or ask us a question, we encourage you to be part of the Living with a Disability community.

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