Vocational Experts & Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted by: Chris

Anyone who applies for Social Security disability benefits will most likely ask their healthcare providers for help along the way. Healthcare providers can play an important role in obtaining disability benefits, but they are not the only professionals that may need to get involved. Here’s a look at the role that vocational experts play in helping people secure Social Security disability benefits:  

What is a Vocational Expert?

A vocational expert is someone who is very familiar with the current job market, including what skills are in demand, what skills are needed to perform certain jobs, and expected job growth.

When Are Vocational Experts Used in Disability Cases?

Part of the appeals process involves presenting your case in a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge will most likely request that a vocational expert attend the hearing to answer questions related to your ability to find employment.

The vocational expert is often expected to answer detailed questions during the hearing. For example, the judge may describe the claimant’s age, education, prior work history, and list of limitations. Then, the judge will ask the vocational expert whether or not the claimant can continue working at the job he previously held given his new limitations. If the vocational expert does not believe this is possible, the judge will ask him to list other jobs that the claimant is qualified for and capable of performing.

How the Vocational Expert Can Affect Your Case

The vocational expert can make or break your disability case. If the expert believes there are employment opportunities available for you, the judge will rule that you are not entitled to disability benefits. But, if the expert believes that your disability and background makes it impossible for you to find employment, the judge will likely approve your request for disability benefits.

It’s important to work with an attorney who knows what questions to ask the vocational expert in your hearing. For instance, let’s say the judge forgets to mention one of your limitations when questioning the expert about your abilities. You need an attorney who will immediately recognize this omission and ask the expert to reconsider his answer now that he knows all of the claimant’s limitations. It is moments like these in the hearing that can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

If you’re in the process of appealing the Social Security’s initial decision, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys have years of experience representing disabled men and women in hearings with vocational experts. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.