Social Security Disability Hearings–The Vocational Expert
Have you received a notice from Social Security that a vocational expert will be present at your hearing? If so, you may be wondering what on earth a vocational expert is. A vocational expert is a vocation rehabilitation professional that provides advice to an Administrative Law Judge regarding a claimant's ability to perform any type of work activity. Vocational experts appear more often at Social Security Disability hearings than medical experts. The vocational expert program was founded in September of 1962. Vocational experts are independent parties that remain objective and impartial when expressing their opinions. A vocational expert's role at your hearing is to help the Administrative Law Judge determine if you can still work in jobs you've performed over the last 15 years or if you are capable of working in any other jobs that are available in the national economy. Their job is to discuss the jobs available to you and how your condition impacts your ability to obtain and perform those jobs. Vocational experts typically review 15 years of your work history prior to testifying about your work abilities. The training and qualifications of vocational experts vary widely. Some vocational experts have a background in psychology or counseling, while others have a background in vocational education or rehabilitation. Why Are Vocational Experts Needed? It is not required that vocational experts be present at Social Security Disability hearings, but many Administrative Law Judges prefer to have them aboard. Administrative Law Judges may want a vocational expert to testify at your hearing because he doesn't feel that your testimony alone will be sufficient or he has several unanswered questions about your case. The judge will use the vocational expert's answers to determine whether or not you're still capable of working. If the vocational expert determines that you are capable of performing some type of work, you will be found ineligible for disability benefits. If you receive a notice in the mail that a vocational expert will be present at your Social Security Disability hearing, it could also mean that the judge decided you aren't capable of performing any work you've performed in the past because of your impairment. Therefore, the judge is probably seeking the advice of a vocational expert to determine whether you're capable of performing other types of work. Vocational experts typically obtain information about your disability by reviewing your records prior to the hearing, listening to your oral testimony and the testimonies of your witnesses, and observing your behavior throughout the hearing. Through observing your communication skills, appearance, responsiveness, physical capacities, etc. a vocational expert will be able to evaluate the severity of your disability. The vocational expert's testimony will come last at the hearing since he will need time to accumulate as much information about your case as possible. Is a Vocational Expert Going to Be Present at Your Hearing?Seek the representation of a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer to maximize your hearing's chances of success. Fill out our online contact form for more information.