Understanding The Role Of The Vocational Expert
When you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you might think, “I can’t do the job I have right now, so what’s the point of talking about it?” The truth is that the Social Security Administration requires an analysis of any skills you have learned over the past 15 years and whether those skills can be transferred to another job that you are able to do, despite your disability.
This analysis is done by a vocational expert, professionals who appear at the majority of SSD hearings. These experts are well-trained, well-experienced vocational rehabilitation counselors who maintain a private practice or work for an agency; they do not work for the government. Rather, they are paid for an independent, neutral decision.
What Does A Vocational Expert Do?
Vocational experts review medical records and attend the SSD hearing to listen to the testimony of the disabled person. After the claimant has testified, the judge will ask the vocational expert to give an analysis of past relevant work, going back 15 years prior to the time the claimant became disabled; the judge asks whether this work experience provided transferable skills, or skills which could be transferred to a less physically demanding or stressful job. Often, the judge will ask the vocational expert hypothetical questions assuming the same age, skill level and other traits of the claimant and if they were to have particular physical or mental restrictions, would they be able to do a particular job for which they are qualified.
Our SSD benefits attorneys will also have the opportunity to ask the vocational expert questions, including posing alternative hypothetical situations. We have the experience necessary to demonstrate that you require assistance.
Vocational expert testimony does not win or lose the case, but it is an important factor guiding the judge to their decision on whether there is another job that is physically possible for the claimant to perform. What can be difficult to understand is that this hypothetical job does not actually have to be available to you.
Contact Crowe & Shanahan Today
For more information on vocational experts or to schedule an appointment with a Missouri lawyer from our firm, contact us at our St. Louis office today.