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What is a Vocational Expert and Why Are They Important for Your Social Security Disability Case?

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Posted by Corey Luedeman

If your initial disability application has been denied, you will need to appeal your claim through the appeals process. One of the levels of the disability appeals process involves a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. The majority of disability cases in Iowa require a disability hearing in order to be approved for Social Security benefits.

How Does a Vocational Expert Affect Your Disability Claim?

During your hearing, a vocational expert may be called to testify. A vocational expert is considered an expert witness brought in by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They are called by the SSA to testify at your appeal hearing about a variety of things, including:

  • The types of jobs in your area, and how many of each type of job there are
  • The skills necessary for many different types of jobs
  • If they believe you can do any of these jobs based upon your limitations.

The vocational expert will review your medical records before your disability appeal hearing and also listen to your testimony given during the hearing. Based on this information, he or she will use their knowledge to inform the judge what type of jobs you had in the past and whether you can perform those jobs now. If they feel you can’t do those past jobs based on your disability limitations, they will discuss any skills you have or could learn that could open you up to a different type of work.

During their testimony, the vocational expert will be asked questions by the judge and also by your attorney. These questions are known as hypotheticals and are related to your disabling conditions and the type of work you could possibly do.

An example of a hypothetical for someone with severe back problems could be “What jobs if any could a person of the same education, work history, and age perform if he or she could not lift more than 10 pounds or stand more than 2 hours?”

Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help Your Disability Case

This is where having an experienced Iowa Social Security Disability lawyer will be crucial. An attorney can figure out any weaknesses in the vocational expert’s testimony. They can cross-examine the expert to outline the extent of your limitations and help prove to the Administrative Law Judge that you are disabled.

An attorney can also help you prepare your own testimony in front of the judge. This preparation will guide you in explaining the specifics of your limitations and how these limitations prevent you from doing any type of work.

If your initial application has been denied, you only have a limited amount of time to appeal your claim. Getting a Social Security Disability attorney involved in the appeals process can mean getting the disability benefits you deserve.

To speak with one of our experienced Cedar Rapids Social Security Disability attorneys, call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

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