How a Vocational Expert Can Help Discharge Student Debt

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Vocational experts are most commonly used to help prove damages and establish employability in disability and personal injury cases. Vocational expert services are now being used in many more types of cases as their value is being better understood by attorneys and clients. For example, in one case an individual was denied her request to discharge student loan debt, and the Court suggested she would have had a better case if she used a vocational expert.

In Nash v. Connecticut Student Loan Foundation, Noreen Nash sought to have her significant education debts discharged. She suffered from psychiatric disorders, and as a result was unable to sustain any type of steady employment. Debts arising from education loans are not usually dischargeable unless not discharging the debt would will impose an undue hardship on the debtor. Nash argued that due to her disability and inability to work, not discharging the debt would cause her undue hardship. The bankruptcy court and the Court of Appeal both found that Nash had not established the requisite undue hardship and concluded that the debts were non-dischargeable. The court suggested that evidence from a doctor and a vocational expert might have helped demonstrate her long term disability and her future inability to work. Nash had not produced any expert witness testimony at all, and this negatively impacted her case.

If there is an issue in any case concerning the ability to work and earn wages, a vocational expert can be a huge asset.


Edmond Provder, owner of Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS), is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and has extensive experience documenting the earning capacity and employability of injured or disabled plaintiffs in a variety of circumstances. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help in your case.