How Hiring Your Own Vocational Expert Can Help You Win More of Your Social Security Disability Cases – #1

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Since Kerner v. Flemming, 283 F.2d 916 (2d Cir. 1960), Vocational Experts, professionals who are educated, trained, skilled in job placement and knowledgeable about labor market conditions, have been asked to formulate vocational opinions about specific job opportunities of a person based on their age, education, background, work experience, and medical condition.

Independent Vocational Experts (VE) are contracted by Social Security to respond to the ALJ’s hypothetical questions. The VEs testify as to the type of jobs available given the parameters of the hypothetical question while also affirming the “significant” number of jobs. Many times the Vocational Expert testifies telephonically never seeing the claimant, never reviewing the medical records, and never hearing the claimant’s testimony.

Many of the governments “Impartial” Vocational Experts work exclusively for the administration and earn significant income from this work.  Unfortunately, they tend to be swayed to testify the way the ALJ wants them to in order to receive any additional assignments.

The only way to counteract such testimony is to retain your own vocational expert.  In this series of blogs, I will point out areas OAS Vocational Experts have found the government’s vocational witness’s to be defective.

One of the most frequent errors made by the government’s VE is a “miss-classification” of the claimant’s past relevant work. This may consist of giving the incorrect DOT Number, Physical Demand requirement, or Skill level.  Such miss-information can turn a case, which should be granted into an unfavorable decision.

A recent case OAS reviewed involved the government’s VE to testify that a Telephone Exchange Repairer (822.281-022; Medium Work; Skilled) required Light Physical demands. Thus, the 58-year-old man could return to his past relevant work given the ALJ’s hypothetical question and yield a denial of the claim.

OAS can assist the Social Security Attorney in providing a Vocational Opinion based on our objective assessment of the claimant’s vocational capabilities stated on the record review, standardized diagnostic evaluation, vocational testing (if needed), transfer-ability skill’s analysis, and labor market research in the person’s local geographical area to determine if any “significant number of jobs” exist in the local or national labor market that the claimant could perform.

When the case goes to a Hearing, OAS will work closely with the attorney so they can better understand our evaluation and prepare for cross-examination of the government’s impartial expert’s testimony.

OAS Experts have testified in numerous Social Security Disability cases. We have been recognized as Vocational Experts in the Federal Courts of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida.

OAS works closely with each attorney to assist them in assessing their Social Security Disability claimant. For further information, please call OAS 800-292-1919 for a sample Social Security report and ask for our article Social Security Vocational Expert Friend or Foe: How to Cross Examine & Win Your CASE that further describes how we can help you win your Social Security cases.