Vocational and Medical Expert Testimony

The purpose of a Social Security disability benefits hearing is to determine whether the claimant is disabled to the extent that he or she can no longer work. Thus, it stands to reason that the administrative judge will need to hear sworn testimony from both an expert in the claimant’s particular medical condition as well as an expert on certain vocations and whether the claimant would be physically and mentally able to perform the tasks inherent in the job. Your Denver Social Security disability attorney will advise you as to who will make the best expert witness in your case and will explain the type of testimony the judge will likely elicit from these individuals.

Vocational and medical experts may appear in person or via teleconference. It is much more common for a vocational expert to appear in a hearing as 60% of hearings rely on this type of testimony. Medical testimony is elicited in fewer than 20% of hearings. Unlike a worker’s compensation or personal injury action, experts are not permitted to take sides. The expert is expected to render his or her opinion with regard to the claimant’s issues and may not show bias or favoritism.

Vocational experts can be both helpful and detrimental to your case, depending on the situation. Many vocational experts are expected to testify outside their area of expertise and at the edge of their knowledge. These experts are commonly asked to opine as to the claimant’s likely ability to perform certain job functions while disabled as well as how many jobs exist in the community for a person of similar limitations to the claimant.

Your Denver Social Security disability attorney will be able to counter unfavorable testimony from a vocational expert by presenting evidence of your residential functional capacity (RFC). This term refers to the claimant’s ability to function despite the disability. Your attorney will explain to the judge his or her position that the vocational expert errantly “drew the line” of disability to the detriment of the disabled person.

Your Denver Social Security disability attorney will help you interpret the judge’s findings, which are typically rendered at the conclusion of the hearing or shortly thereafter. If you would like further assistance in your upcoming Social Security disability hearing, contact experienced Disability attorneys, Radosevich & Dixon today.