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The Role of a Vocational Expert in a Social Security Disability Case

  • Published: March 27, 2014

An Ocala Social Security disability benefits attorney may ask a vocational expert, or VE, to provide testimony to an administrative law judge on behalf of a claimant. A VE has an understanding of both the skills needed to perform various jobs and the availability of different jobs within the current market. The VE can provide testimony about the kinds of jobs a claimant may be able to perform considering his or her limitations.

Questions for a VE

In most cases, an ALJ or Ocala Social Security disability lawyer will not ask the VE questions about the erosion of the occupational base or vocational adjustment. The questions a VE might be asked are:

    • In the past, what were the physical demands and skills of the claimant’s previous job, and how did the claimant perform his or her job?
    • How does the skill level and physical demands of the claimant’s previous job compare with the requirements of similar jobs in various parts of the U.S.?
    • Does the claimant have the ability to return to his or her previous job considering the findings in the claimant’s residual functional capacity assessment?
    • If the claimant cannot perform his or her previous job duties based on his or her RFC report, does the claimant have skills that might be transferable to another job in a skilled or semi-skilled capacity?
    • If the VE testifies that a claimant does possess transferable skills, an Ocala Social Security disability benefits attorney may ask the VE to provide the following information:
      • A list of the claimant’s transferable skills;
      • A list of jobs to which the claimant’s skills would transfer; and
      • The availability of these jobs within the national and local job market;
    • If it is not clear from the Medical-Vocational Guidelines that a claimant is disabled, but it is clear that the claimant is not able to perform his or her prior job responsibilities, and the claimant does not have transferable skills is the claimant capable of performing any other jobs when his or her RFC and educational level are taken into consideration?
    • If the VE believes that the claimant can perform other work with all factors taken into consideration, the VE may be asked to provide a list of those jobs and their availability in both the national and local job market.

An Ocala Social Security disability benefits attorney may offer the following advice regarding a vocational expert. A VE should not volunteer additional information but should provide relevant and complete answers to the ALJ’s questions. A VE is expected to provide testimony regarding vocational issues and only the issues that are pertinent to the requirements of the rulings, regulations and statute.

A VE Is Not Supposed to Do Any of the Following

  • Give his or her own opinion regarding medical evidence;
  • Evaluate whether a claimant is capable of competing with unimpaired applicants for available jobs;
  • Provide an opinion about a claimant’s fitness for vocational rehabilitation;
  • Provide an opinion as to whether a claimant is disabled;
  • Provide information about specific job openings or an opinion regarding a claimant’s likelihood to be hired for a specific job; or
  • Compare a claimant’s ability to perform the duties of a specific job to a person with no impairments or less severe impairments.

An Ocala Social Security disability lawyer may be able to locate a vocational expert to testify on behalf of a claimant. CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC has experience with Social Security disability cases and can be reached at 352-304-5300.

Claudeth Henry

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