September 17, 2019

Why Do Social Security Judges Ask Hypothetical Questions to Vocational Witnesses at Hearings?

Transcript of video:

Hi there. This is Jonathan Ginsberg; I’m a Social Security Disability attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. I want to talk to you about hypothetical questions that the judge is going to ask the vocational expert at your Social Security Disability hearing.

If you haven’t yet gone to your hearing, what you’ll find is that the judge will in many cases have a vocational witness there. The vocational witness is typically a person with experience, knowledge, education about jobs in the economy, and is going to testify for the judge about jobs that you might be able to do given the limitations that may exist in your record. [Read more…]

Why do Vocational Witnesses Appear to Testify at Social Security disability hearings?

Vocational Witness testimony in Social Security disability cases from Jonathan Ginsberg on Vimeo.

In this video, I talk about vocational witness testimony in a Social Security disability case.  Vocational witnesses appear and testify at many Social Security disability hearings.  At first, this may seem odd, as you have most likely never met this person and now he or she will be giving testimony about your hearing.

SSDI judges use vocational witnesses because the main issue they are deciding has to do with your capacity to work.  Basically, during the hearing, the judge will be trying to identify specific limitations that arise from your medical or mental health condition.  More specifically, the judge will be concerning himself with limitations that will impact your capacity to work.

For example, suppose that you hurt your back and you testify that you experience severe pain 3 to 4 hours per day and that the pain is so severe that you cannot sit or stand but have to lie down and take narcotic pain medication until you fall asleep.  If the medical record supports your testimony and the judge finds you credible, he might ask the VE a question like this:

[Read more…]