If you have a Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit or Supplemental Security Income claim, you will probably have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The issue to be decided in most hearings is whether there are jobs in significant numbers in the national or regional economy that you could perform. The ALJ will find you not disabled if there are jobs in significant numbers you could perform. The ALJ will usually ask that a Vocational Expert (VE) attend your hearing to help the ALJ figure out if there are jobs in significant numbers.
Usually, the ALJ will ask you to testify and then will ask the VE to answer a few “hypothetical” questions. After the VE answers the ALJ’s questions, the ALJ will give you an opportunity to question the VE. Questioning the VE is very important because the ALJ decision will usually hinge on the VE’s testimony. If the VE answers there are numerous jobs out there that you can perform, she must be able to explain her rationale for the answer. To make sure the VE’s testimony is valid, the VE must be up to date with the latest job numbers and recent employment trends. The VE must also have experience placing individuals in jobs and have performed labor market studies. The VE must also have an understanding of the Social Security Regulations and Rulings and how to apply them.
If you have a hearing scheduled and your Notice of Hearing indicates a VE will be present, it would be wise to talk to an attorney A skilled attorney will be able to question the VE to make sure the VE’s testimony is up to date and accurate.