Did you know that 85% of Social Security disability (SSD) hearings include expert vocational consulting? This is because vocational legal experts provide important information that judges need to hear in order to accurately rule on the case.
Keep reading to learn exactly what a vocational expert witness is.
What is a vocational expert?
A vocational expert is a witness who is an expert in their industry and knows about job availability in the current job market. This person also intimately knows the skills that are needed in order to perform specific jobs.
At a disability hearing, usually, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will call on vocational experts to testify on behalf of your disability in order to determine if you can or cannot work based on your disability.
Why are vocational experts important?
Vocational experts give their expert opinion on what jobs you can perform based on your unique limitations. They are the person that says whether or not they think you’re able to perform the job function at your highest capacity, or if due to your limitations you’re no longer able to perform that job.
Remember though, they are not the deciding factor, they are just there to give their expert opinion on the matter.
What to expect?
Depending on what your disability is, you can expect some of this scenario.
If you had a serious spinal injury, and you work in construction, the vocational expert may ask “what job could someone who is the same age, education, and work history as you do if they couldn’t lift 15 pounds on a regular basis, or can’t go more than 15 minutes of standing.” This helps them take you out of the equation and look at it fairly to determine whether or not you can continue to do the job.
Of course, if you can’t stand for more than 15 minutes, or if you can’t regularly lift 15 pounds, you wouldn’t be able to be in a construction position. This is how they determine whether you can continue working.
What happens next?
Depending on what the vocational expert has decided, determines what happens next. More often than not the vocational expert is cross-examined by both sides. This is to ensure the judge fully understands both sides of the argument and is able to make an educated decision.
If the vocational expert determines you’re unable to perform your job duty in any capacity, then the courts will determine what type of benefits you can receive.
If the vocational expert determines that you’re still able to perform your most previous job duties, then you’re more than likely not going to get the benefits. This is why it’s important to have a good attorney who will cross-examine the vocational expert and help shine a light on why you’re unable to perform the duties.
In conclusion, a vocational expert is important for your case.
If you know anyone who needs help with their case, be sure to share this article with them as well.
Looking for more information? Contact us, at Solutions Northwest Inc.
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