What Do Vocational Experts Say at Social Security Disability Hearings in Greenville?
And Why Are They So Important to Your Claim?
You’ve applied for Social Security Disability benefits, gotten denied like most people, and appealed the decision. Now you’re preparing for your disability hearing, where a vocational expert is going to testify about you.
You want to know what to expect from this vocational expert.
And that’s understandable. What the expert says about your ability to work could determine whether you get disability income to help you through this difficult time.
If you work with the Pilzer Klein law firm, we’ll take special care to get you well prepared for your hearing, well in advance. Continue reading for more on the role of vocational experts.
For a free evaluation of your case, contact us today.
How Does the Vocational Expert Fit into Your Disability Hearing?
When you get to your hearing, the administrative law judge and your attorney will question you about your health problems and your work history.
The vocational expert steps in to put your past jobs in categories based on the job requirements. They know about the skill and stamina levels required of different jobs available in the market.
They’ll give an opinion on what work you could, or could not, do. Social Security hires the expert for this purpose.
And your entire disability claim hinges on whether you’re able to work or not. So this testimony is vital.
Questions the Vocational Expert Answers
At your hearing, the judge and your attorney will ask the vocational expert questions called “hypotheticals” as they seek to understand what kind of work you might be capable of performing.
The hypothetical questions use an example of someone in the same situation as you. The judge will ask if it’s typical for someone like that to keep doing their old job.
If the answer is yes, that could be bad news for your disability claim.
If, however, the vocational expert does not believe you can perform your most recent job, the judge will ask further hypotheticals, such as these:
- What jobs can a person be expected to perform if they can only sit up for two hours at a time, lift no more than 20 pounds and stand for no more than 15 minutes?
- If the claimant can stand or walk for no more than four hours, and can lift no more than 10 pounds, can they transfer past work skills to another skilled or semi-skilled position?
If the expert determines that you can perform another job with your skills, your claim is headed for denial.
Unless you have a skilled and experienced lawyer with you at the hearing.
Your attorney can cross-examine the vocational expert and attempt to disprove their conclusion.
Your attorney might ask about other skills and abilities that the judge didn’t cover, in order to find a job requirement that you cannot meet because of your health limitations.
If your lawyer uncovers factors that rule out working in all the jobs the vocational expert suggested you could do, the expert might conclude that you can’t work after all.
If you’re unable to work due to a physical or mental condition, and you’re facing a hearing with a judge, call us to discuss your options.
How to Improve Your Chances at Your Disability Hearing
Vocational experts don’t appear in every disability hearing, but they do appear in a wide majority of the hearings.
And having a vocational expert there potentially reduces your chances of winning benefits.
This is one reason why you don’t want to go into a hearing alone, or with an out-of-town representative who didn’t take time getting to know you and your case before your hearing.
The lawyers at Pilzer Klein focus on Social Security Disability cases every day and don’t overlook any details that could improve your chances of getting the benefits you need.
Let’s talk about your case and your needs.