November 14, 2019

How You Can Influence Vocational Expert Testimony to Win Your Social Security Disability Hearing

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…]

Episode 22: Can Social Security Force Me to Take a Less Demanding Job?

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Here is a question I received from a woman named Phyllis who sent me the following email:

IF YOU HAVE WORKED AS A PROFESSIONAL NURSE FOR PAST 25 YEARS AND CAN NO LONGER DO THE JOB AS A NURSE DUE TO DISABILITY, CAN SOCIAL SECURITY REQUIRE YOU TO WORK AS A  NON-PROFESSIONAL WITH ALOT LESS PAY  DOING SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOUR WERE TRAINED TO DO ? IF THE ANSWER IS YES,  DO THEY  ASSIST YOU IN FINDING ADEQUATE EMPLOYMENT  IN YOUR COMMUNITY WHERE YOU LIVE.

In the podcast, I make note of the following:

  1. In evaluating your case, Social Security is asking whether there is work out there that you could do, within Social Security’s regulatory framework.  If you are successful in proving that you cannot work, you win; if the judge concludes that you can work, you lose.
  2. Social Security cannot force you to take a job.  Similarly, Social Security will not find you a job – they are not an employment agency.
  3. Social Security will ask whether you have transferrable skills from past work.  If so, they will ask whether skills you may have obtained working could transfer to an easier job
  4. Generally, I approach most cases with the mindset that I need to prove that my client would not be a reliable, dependable worker in any job setting.
  5. You can read more at my Social Security disability blog about how Social Security classifies jobs based on exertional capacity and based on skill level.