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You have waited a long time for a hearing, and when it finally comes, you will receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail. This notice will inform you of the date, time, and location of your hearing. Sometimes the Notice of Hearing will also list other individuals who will appear at the hearing.
One of the individuals you may see ‘noticed’ to appear may be a Vocational Expert or VE. This person is not employed by the SSA but rather is contracted out to review the work history in your claim and to assist the ALJ in understanding the various job requirements and demands of certain jobs that exist in the regional and national economy.
During the hearing, the ALJ may ask the VE to describe the types of work you have performed in the past and to list what skills, if any, the jobs required. Then the ALJ may ask a series of hypothetical or ‘made up’ questions such as:
“Assume you have a person the same age and educational background as the claimant, Jon Smith, who can only perform work at the sedentary level. Assume based on their back problem they can only stand for ten minutes at a time and would need to move around frequently to alleviate pain…etc”.
At the end of the hypothetical question, the ALJ will ask the VE if there are jobs that exist in the economy that would allow a person with these restrictions to still be able to work. The VE will either say ‘yes’ and name types of jobs or ‘no’. The ALJ may ask several different hypothetical questions making them more restrictive by adding additional limitations to each one.
After the ALJ is finished asking questions of the VE, your representative will then be allowed to ask any other hypothetical questions he /she wants to. They often will use parts of your testimony and add it into the questions so you see why describing the pain and how it limits functional abilities is so important.
Having representation that is well versed in Social Security law can make a world of difference. We have helped thousands of people get the Social Security Benefits they deserve. Call us today for a free consultation, and find out why we won’t take no for an answer. 1-877-526-3457
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law