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Role of vocational experts in the SSD approval process

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Social Security Disability

The Social Security Disability approval process requires a thorough evaluation of an individual’s ability to work. One element in this process is the involvement of vocational experts.

These professionals play a pivotal role in determining whether an individual can perform substantial gainful activity and qualify for SSD benefits.

Assessment of residual functional capacity

At the end of 2021, the Social Security Administration identified 7,877,129 disabled workers. These individuals had or needed to complete the SSD process’s vocational evaluation. Vocational experts assess an individual’s residual functional capacity. RFC measures individuals’ ability to perform work-related activities despite their impairments. These experts carefully analyze medical records, functional limitations and other pertinent information. They use this information to evaluate an individual ability to engage in work activities.

Identification of transferable skills

Vocational experts identify transferable skills. These experts examine an applicant’s work history and skills. They consider whether these skills can transfer to another type of work. Then, these experts share information with the court or SSA about the individual’s ability to complete different jobs.

Job market analysis

Vocational experts analyze the local job market. They search for employment opportunities for individuals with limitations. They consider the physical and mental demands of various jobs. They also evaluate local job availability. They search for jobs the claimant can perform.

Expert testimony in administrative hearings

Vocational experts may provide expert testimony during administrative SSD appeal hearings. They offer professional opinions on the claimant’s ability to work. They base their testimonies on the specific details of the case. This testimony becomes a factor in the administrative law judge’s decision-making process.

Vocational experts work with the SSA and administrative law judges. They provide valuable information about whether applicants can work in their original or a new position.