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You received your hearing notice and it says there is a vocational expert at your hearing. Who is this vocational expert? Why are they coming to your hearing?  Hopefully, you are starting to see how important it is to hire an attorney with experience to represent you at your hearing. It is your attorney who can answer these questions. More importantly, chances are good that an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability law will know the vocational expert. Your attorney will also know how to cross-examine the vocational expert.


The vocational expert is an expert witness. The Judge calls the expert to come to your hearing to talk about jobs. Vocational Experts or VE’s have training in job placement. They also understand the numbers and types of jobs that exist in the nation. They are at the hearing in order to answer questions about hypothetical people in the job force.

social security disability benefits

Once the Judge finishes asking you questions about your disability, she will decide what you are capable of doing on the job. The SSA calls this your residual functional capacity. It is what you can physically and mentally do throughout an 8 hour work day.  Therefore, your answers to the questions at the hearing are very important. As is the medical records you submit. The Judge combines your hearing testimony and the medical records to determine how you would perform if you were on the job. At the end of your hearing, the Judge will ask hypothetical questions.


The Judge will ask hypothetical questions to the VE about whether or not a person with your disabilities can work. Typically, the Judge will use three to four hypotheticals. These questions can include many different symptoms from your disabilities. For example, the Judge may ask if a person cannot concentrate on the job, could they work. Or, the Judge may ask what kind of work would be available to a person who cannot lift more than 20 pounds.

Once the Judge is done asking questions, your attorney has the right to cross-examine the VE. For claimant’s who do not hire an attorney, they are left to try to ask the VE questions on their own. Obviously, those people do not know what questions to ask because they have never been to a hearing before. Nor do they have the training they need to know what questions to ask.

Unfortunately, if you do not hire an attorney to help you, you will probably lose your case. The majority of cases turn on the VE’s testimony at the hearing. An attorney can make sure that all of your symptoms are part of the hypothetical to the VE. Also, the attorney is familiar with the jobs in the national economy and whether or not they exist in the state in which you live. If the attorney has experience, they also know what jobs the VE is likely to say that you can do. This part of the hearing is difficult. Trying to do it yourself will not work. If nothing else, you should hire an attorney to represent you if the Judge has called a vocational expert to your hearing.


At Cannon Disability Law, we are experts in cross-examining vocational experts. Our lawyers and representatives have special training to help us understand how to cross-examine vocational experts. We have been trained to know where the VE gets her answers. This helps us question the VE about whether or not you can work. Our job is to help you win your Social Security Disability benefits. Since most cases turn on the VE’s testimony, you need an experienced lawyer on your side in the courtroom. Contact us through this website. Or, give us a call at 801-322-2121.

We can help you apply for disability benefits, appeal a denial from the SSA, and win your case in court. Hiring us does not cost you any money up-front. In fact, there is no charge for you to hire us. Most importantly, we are only paid an attorney fee when we win your case. Call us for your free consultation. Wining disability benefits can be a long journey, you need the best disability legal team to help you. Cannon Disability Law is that legal team.

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