The Value of a Vocational Expert in a Disability Hearing
In a recent post, we discussed the Medical Expert witness in Social Security Disability hearings. In this post, we will turn our attention to yet another witness that is often called upon by the SSA to help shed light on your specific case – the Vocational Expert witness, or VE.
At a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits claim hearing, the VE may evaluate your past work and what kind of work you are capable based on your age, education, or skill set. The VE will also do his/her best to evaluate the current ability of the claimant to perform daily tasks at home and at work, so as to properly frame the impact of a medical condition on your current work capacity.
The VEs are bound by law to be completely impartial and objective, and they are only there to help the Judge understand your abilities and/or limitations. Additionally, VEs are never agents of the SSA, so they are not anything to fear.
A VE may also provide an overview of the types of work a claimant was able to perform prior to the onset of disability, based on up to 15 years of work history. Their expertise is usually summoned by an adjudicator or judge to address pertinent questions that arise during a claim.
Like the medical expert, the VE’s presence at your hearing may be a benefit to you, especially if your disability clearly prevents you from performing past work or other work.