Vocational Expert Affects Disability Claim

If you are currently planning on filing a disability claim or are involved with a disability claim already, you will have to go through a disability hearing at some point.

A disability hearing is an important aspect of any Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim

. During your SSDI hearing, a panel will analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding your disability claim.

Some of the most important actors in these hearings are disability hearing vocational experts. The vocational expert at your SSDI hearing is responsible for helping assess your disability claim.

At the end of the day, vocational expert testimony can make or break your claim for disability benefits.

What Is a Vocational Expert?

As noted, Social Security disability vocational expert opinions can make or break your claim for disability benefits. As an expert, their job is to assess whether you are unable to work.

Alternatively, they may determine that you are able to work despite your injury.

In other circumstances, the disability hearing vocational expert may say that you can still work, but only with the right, reasonable accommodations. These are, essentially, the three main conclusions that a vocational expert may reach.

Often, vocational experts specialize in a specific work area. As such, they know the ins and outs of that particular job or field of work.

Using their expertise, they can determine whether you can fulfill your duties. There are several factors that vocational experts look at to make their determination.

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What Factors Do Vocational Experts Look At?

While the vocational expert goes through the facts and circumstances of your case, they need to look at several different factors.

Without a holistic analysis of all these relevant factors, a vocational expert’s opinion would carry a lot less weight. That would, of course, defeat the point of a vocational expert in the first place.

While many factors come into play, two stand out from the rest: the level of exertion a job requires and the level of expertise the job requires. Some of the other factors include things like your age and the current job market.

Level of Exertion

One of the main factors that a vocational expert will look at is the level of exertion a given job requires.

Some jobs, like those in construction, might require you to stand on your feet for 12 hours at a time or lift more than 50 pounds at a time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are sedentary jobs. These are, by and large, what we think of as desk jobs. In the middle, light or medium jobs might require you to lift 25 pounds or so regularly and stand on your feet for 6 to 8 hours a day.

In the end, if your job requires a great deal of physical exertion and your disability impairs your ability to exert yourself physically, the stronger your claim is.

Conversely, a disability that affects only your ability to physically exert yourself may not help your disability claim if you work at a desk job. 

Level of Expertise

In a vocational expert’s analysis, the level of expertise a given job requires is equally important to the level of exertion it requires.

The more skills and expertise your job requires, the more likely your claim is to be accepted. Conversely, unskilled jobs are often more difficult to get disability benefits for.

Ready to File Your SSDI Disability Claim?

If you’re ready to file an SSDI claim, or if you are just considering it, give us a call at Cottrell Law Office. SSDI claims are a unique area of law and can present some unique difficulties at times.

That’s why it’s so important to go with an attorney who has the right experience to help you with your claim. At Cottrell Law Office, disability claims are one of our primary practice areas.

With the help of our experienced SSDI claims team, you can go into the process with confidence. Why? Because you know that your lawyer has been there before.

Thus, you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises when it comes time for your hearing. Results matter, so go with the team who gets results. Contact Cottrell Law Office today to schedule your consultation!

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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