Philadelphia Social Security Disability Lawyers Explain the Vocational Expert
When a worker’s disability is not on Social Security’s list of medical impairments, the ability of the worker to perform former duties or new work comes into play. Social Security Administration may employ a vocational expert to determine whether a worker can find suitable work in the local labor market.
The Role of the Vocational Expert
The vocational expert knows about the various types of jobs that exist and the skills that are necessary to perform those jobs. The expert will rely on statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. The first time the applicant sees the vocational expert is at the Social Security Administrative Hearing. The vocational expert will review the claim file and the claimant’s full work history.
Work Ability Questions Phrased as Hypotheticals
The Administrative Law Judge will then ask the vocational expert several hypothetical questions.
One standard question is as follows: Given the medical and psychological limitations of the applicant, could the applicant perform their former job? If the vocational expert determines that the applicant can complete the job duties of their last job, then the claim may be denied.
Another standard question is: Given the applicant’s health limitations, functional limitations, age, education and work experiences, can the worker perform a new job? If the vocational expert determines that the answer to this question is yes, then he/she will usually document the name of the job, the appropriate job code from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the number of jobs available in the region where the applicant lives. If there are a significant number of jobs available that meet these requirements, then the claim may be denied.
The Role of a Social Security Disability Attorney
A Philadelphia Social Security disability lawyer will try to show that the vocational expert’s hypothetical questions did not take into account all of the applicant’s physical and mental limitations. An experienced disability lawyer will make sure that the hypothetical questions include all the limitations and ensures that an important limitation was not omitted. The attorney may then try to demonstrate via a new hypothetical scenario that there are no jobs available for the disabled applicant based on consideration of the additional limitations.
A skilled Social Security disability lawyer may also cross-examine the vocational expert to determine how they finalized their data, which jobs are national, which are local, as well as ask about other criteria that was used. The goal of the disability lawyer is to show that there are not significant jobs available for the applicant due to the true limitations of their disability.
Philadelphia Social Security Lawyers at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore Understand the Role of the Vocational Expert
The cross-examination of the vocational expert is often the key to winning or losing. At the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore, our Philadelphia Social Security disability lawyers may review the case with an independent vocational expert before the hearing so we can anticipate the answers the Social Security vocational expert may give. To review and properly prepare a case, call us at 1-800-CANT-WORK (1-800-226-8967) to make an appointment. You can also complete our online form. We represent clients in Social Security disability claims nationwide.