A vocational expert is also called a VE. A VE is a professional trained in the labor market who usually has education and experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation. A VE is not an employee of the Social Security Administration (SSA); however, SSA pays the VE a fee to take part in disability hearings as an impartial expert witness. Before the hearing, the VE will be provided exhibits from the applicant’s file relating to the applicant’s past work history. At the hearing, the applicant must describe his work history over the past 15 years in detail. The VE will listen to this testimony and later determine the skill level and exertional level of the jobs the applicant described. The VE will use this information to determine if the applicant can still do his past work despite his work-related limitations. If the applicant can still do a job that he has done in the past 15 years, then it is likely the Judge will deny the disability claim. On the other hand, if the VE says that the applicant cannot do any of the jobs he has done in the past 15 years, then the Judge will next ask the VE whether there are any other jobs in the national economy the applicant can perform despite his work-related limitations. If the applicant can do other jobs in the national economy, then it is likely the Judge will deny the disability claim. The applicant’s representative will also be allowed to ask the VE questions. The goal of the representative will be to rule out the jobs the VE testified the applicant can still perform. The testimony of the VE is usually given a lot of weight by the Judge. Oftentimes, it determines the outcome of the case.
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