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How to Find a Vocational Expert

When you or an employee cannot sustain and perform full-time work, they can qualify for disability. Unfortunately for some employees, getting approved for social security benefits is not as simple as it appears. 

Sometimes you or your attorney must call in the expertise of a vocational expert

A vocational expert can help in a variety of ways. Learn what she does, what she can do for you and what you can expect in the future from the collaboration.

What is a vocational expert?

The Social Security Administration created the vocational expert role to assist with vocational cases. Ultimately, Administrative Law Judges will make the final determination in disability hearings concerning benefits.

A vocational expert is used to act as an expert witness during social security disability hearings. They present facts about current jobs available in the labor market for those with disabilities. Vocational experts also testify on what skills you need to perform specific jobs. 

During your case, Administrative Law Judges will call upon vocational experts for objective and impartial testimonies to expedite final judgments.  Vocational experts are not agents of the Social Security Administration, but their independent findings help determine rulings either in your favor or against you.

What can a vocational expert do for you?

In some cases, disability can be challenging to prove. Even with documented impairment, you will have to successfully demonstrate why you cannot work.

Seeing that you will have to answer questions from the judge and your attorney, you will need help from an expert. 

A positive to having a vocational expert present at your hearing is that they can testify about your inability to perform your previous work. They also determine whether any skills you learned can be applied to another job.

For example, an Administrative Law Judge may ask a vocational expert if you can still perform your previous job with your disability. If the vocational expert says you can still perform your previous job, your request for benefits may be denied. Conversely, if the vocational expert testifies that you cannot carry out the duties of your prior job, that may help your claim succeed. 

Keep in mind, this all depends on the type of injury you sustained that caused the disability. In the same vein, all of your limitations will come into play and vocational experts will provide accurate evidence of those limitations. The vocational expert will also speak on your inability (or ability) to transfer skills to another job.

You can retain and hire your own vocational expert.

Social Security employs independent vocational experts, but you have the right to hire your own.

During this process, an Administrative Law Judge will call upon the impartial testimony of a vocational expert. At times, a judge’s hypothetical questions can cause a vocational expert to sway in their testimony.

Hiring your own vocational expert ensures impartiality. It also decreases the chances of miss-classification of your past relevant work. 

In conclusion, it is a good idea to be involved when choosing a vocational expert.

Proving disability is not a simple task. Denials happen and you must keep pressing forward. Consider collaborating with a vocational expert or ensuring your attorney is using a vocational expert that will have your best interest at heart. 

At Solutions Northwest Inc., we can help you find a vocational expert or give you general vocational consulting. Our vocational experts are involved in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and family law. If you need our guidance, our legal experts are ready to guide you through the process.

Contact us today to make an appointment or ask a question.

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Contact the Vocational Consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773

Seattle, WA


Olympia, WA


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