Nathan was shocked to receive a notice denying his application for disability benefits. He knew his arthritis made it impossible for him to continue working at the construction site and couldn’t believe the folks at the Social Security Administration did not see it his way. Nathan decided to appeal. When a vocational expert appeared at his appeal hearing, he was concerned. What is a vocational expert and what does he or she have to do with your appeal?
Appealing Social Security Disability Insurance Denial
Less than 50% of first-time applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are approved. It’s possible to appeal an SSDI denial, and many people do appeal. The appeal process goes as follows:
- Ask for reconsideration of the decision;
- Request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge;
- Ask for an Appeals Council review; and
- File for a federal court review of your case.
The second step of your appeal involves a disability appeal hearing. Several people may appear to give testimony before the administrative law judge, including at least one vocational expert.
The Role of the Vocational Expert
The vocational expert serves as an expert witness, providing the following kinds of testimony:
- The state of the current labor market,
- The types of skills needed to perform jobs that you might be able to perform;
- How your condition might prevent you from working at certain jobs;
- Whether you can do your current job or any jobs you have had in the past; and
- Your relevant job skills; and
- Any job skills that might transfer from your old job to a new job.
Of course, the whole purpose of applying for SSDI is to provide support because you are unable to work. This fact makes the vocational expert’s role in the hearing very important. The administrative law judge will consider the vocational expert’s recommendations when deciding whether your SSDI application should be approved.
Typically, the Social Security Administration attorneys will call the vocational expert as their witness. However, your attorney will be able to cross-examine and ask follow-up questions. In fact, challenging the vocational expert is crucial to the success of your appeal. Trying to handle this without the assistance of an experienced disability attorney could lead to another rejection of your application.
Will There Be a Vocational Expert at Your Disability Hearing?
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Much of their work involves Social Security disability cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.