At a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hearing in Atlanta, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will hear testimony from a vocational expert. In many cases, the expert’s testimony will provide a professional opinion on whether an applicant is unable to work due to a disability. When the vocational expert is summoned by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they may be less likely to make statements that challenge the applicant’s claim.

Therefore, challenging a vocational expert at an Atlanta SSDI hearing can be a critical part of the disability claims process. It is wise to collect evidence in preparation for the hearing and to present it in writing and in verbal testimony. An attorney from our firm would understand the importance of this challenge and can make a substantial difference in obtaining disability benefits from the SSA.

Why is the Vocational Expert’s Opinion so Significant?

Many people seeking SSDI benefits have their claims denied by the SSA for failing to fulfill the requirements outlined in 20 Code of Federal Regulations §1520(f). This law specifies that an individual who cannot perform their regular job duties but can still perform other work does not have a qualifying disability.

Therefore, the SSA must consider the claimant’s:

  • Residual functional capacity (RFC);
  • Age;
  • Education; and
  • Past work experience.

The RFC is an assessment of what the claimant is capable of doing in a work environment on a regular and continuous basis. Additionally, the agency must consider whether a “significant” number of jobs are available that the applicant would be qualified to perform.

This relatively vague standard can encourage vocational experts to make unsubstantiated claims about the availability of jobs. For this reason, an applicant for SSDI in Atlanta should be prepared to challenge a vocational expert’s testimony on this subject.

Potential Strategies

An SSDI claim depends on vocational issues as much as medical impairment. For many applicants, even a severe level of impairment may not make them eligible for benefits if the SSA’s vocational expert asserts that there is work available that they can perform.

In most cases, the vocational expert at an SSDI hearing in Georgia will testify about employment availability and skills needed to perform particular jobs. Challenges to the expert’s opinions may focus on several factors. For example, a claimant could challenge testimony about the number of available jobs by showing that the data is inaccurate or insufficient. Additionally, an applicant could show that additional or different skills are needed to perform the proposed jobs.

Finally, the claimant could show that they do not have the RFC or abilities required to perform the work. It may be possible to present contrary information from an alternate source or to challenge the validity of the vocational expert’s source.

Let Us Assist with Challenging a Vocational Expert at an Atlanta SSDI Hearing

Many vocational experts are familiar with testifying at SSDI hearings. If you want to prepare an effective strategy, it is wise to consult with a legal representative who has experience refuting a vocational expert’s assertions in the context of a hearing or similar adjudicatory setting.

Challenging a vocational expert at an Atlanta SSDI hearing may be the most important component of the disability appeals process. Assistance from a knowledgeable Social Security disability law firm can prove highly beneficial, so call us today.

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