I was recently asked what it meant that the Administrative Law Judge did not have a Vocational Expert (VE) testify at an individual’s Social Security hearing.
What happens when the administrative law judge does not call the vocational expert to the hearing. Why would the judge do that?
Well, I can’t tell you “why” the judge didn’t have VE. Some judges use VEs all the time, others do not. A VE provides evidence (testimony) about steps 4 & 5 of the sequential evaluation process. Continue reading Is a Social Security disability hearing without a Vocational Expert a bad sign?
A reader asked:
How can a vocational expert have any say on my disabilities and limitations? I mean, I dont get a VE slip to give to my boss when I’m sick.
If a Vocational Expert (VE) says that a limitation shouldn’t prevent you from being able to perform a job, that doesn’t help you find an employer who will tolerate that limitation in the real world.
So, what do you do? Continue reading What if a Vocation Expert at a Social Security disability hearing is full of it
The vocational expert at a Social Security hearing may testify that there is an, “erosion in the job base.” I have had a number of people ask me what this means?
As I wrote about before, the vocational expert’s job is to testify about the availability of different jobs in the national economy. The vocational expert responds to be Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) hypothetical questions about the effect of limitations on an individual’s ability to perform job duties.
In other words, the vocational expert testifies about what jobs (if any) a person can still do despite their limitations.
However, not every job is performed the same way, and, jobs can be performed differently (with different abilities and limitations) in different industries. Continue reading Social Security disability hearings: erosion in the job base
I was recently asked where Vocational Experts get their information from?
There a number of sources Vocational Experts use:
- The Dictionary of Occupational Titles
- Selected Characteristics of Occupations
- Job surveys performed by the Vocational Expert
- Services Vocational Experts sign up for which provide job titles, requirements and national and regional job numbers.
If you are working with a lawyer, he or she probably has at least some of these and can verify the skill level, exertional and non-exertional requirements of a jobs the Vocational Expert testified about.
I was recently asked the following:
I had my hearing today. The judge had a vocational rep come in to testify. He said I had two job options.
… I live in a small town that probably does not offer the two jobs the vocational expert said I could do.
Can the judge deny me for being able to do jobs that don’t exist in my town?
First, keep in mind that the Vocational Expert testifies about two things: Continue reading Social Security vocational expert voodoo
Under Social Security regulations, it is not enough to have a disability (a diagnosed medical condition). Your condition has to be severe enough to be prevent you from being able to engage in a “substantial gainful activity;” typically full time, competitive, employment. If you cannot show that your condition keeps you from being able to work, you will probably lose your case.
At the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has a Vocational Expert testify about the the kinds of jobs are available, and how work-place limitations affect your ability to perform those jobs.
Basically, the Vocational Expert answers two questions for the judge (phrased as hypotheticals):
- Can you still perform any of the jobs you have done over the last 15 years?
- Can you still perform any other jobs which exist in substantial numbers in the national economy?
The judge uses the vocational expert’s answers to decide if you can still work (and therefore, whether you are disabled). This makes the vocational expert’s role extremely important! Continue reading What does the “vocational expert” do at a Social Security hearing?