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Disability Hearings and Vocational Experts: What’s it All About?

Most claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) are denied by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). In fact, the SSA is known to deny more than half of all disability claims submitted to it.

It is also well-known that the road to disability benefits is a long, complicated, and confusing one. This is why, if you are thinking about applying for disability benefits, you should hire disability counsel to assist and represent you.

Because most disability claims are denied initially and after reconsideration, many applicants do not see any success unless they appeal the denial of their claim to the administrative hearing level.

When you get to the administrative hearing, there will be a person you’ve never seen before who will testify at your hearing and whose testimony is critical to your case.

That is the Vocational Expert (“VE”).

Vocational Experts and Disability Hearings

The Vocational Expert is a person who is an expert in employment duties. A Vocational Expert also knows how an employer would accommodate an employee who has a physical or mental disability.

At the administrative hearing, a VE will testify about jobs that a hypothetical individual could do. This “hypothetical” person will be someone of your age, skills, experience, education, and mental or physical limitations. Typically, the VE gives his/her testimony in response to hypothetical questions asked by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) or your counsel.

With the help of testimony from the VE, the ALJ tries to determine just where on the disability spectrum the evidence in your case falls. If you are above the line, you are disabled. If you are below the line, you are not.

However, even if the VE testifies that there are jobs that a hypothetical individual with your limitations can do, that does not necessarily mean that you will be denied benefits.

Many times, your counsel will be able to pose questions to the VE that can counter-act questions asked by the ALJ. This is one reason why it is important to be represented by counsel at an administrative hearing. Knowing whether the ALJ has posed proper questions to the VE and understanding the VE’s responses is critical to the success of your disability claim.

When it comes to disability hearings, there’s a lot to know. The importance of the role of the VE at a hearing is just one of them.

If You Need Help With Your Claim, Call Us.  

We are disability counsel serving Baton Rouge, Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your claim. Call (225) 465-1232 to schedule your free consultation ToDay.


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