The Social Security process is a complex and cumbersome process to say the least. Without the guidance of a capable Social Security lawyer, it can become overwhelming trying to understand why things are happening the way they are, especially at your hearing. Why the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is turning to a vocational expert in the first place can be confusing. Even more upsetting to a claimant can be when you hear that vocational expert testify that you can be returning to a job such as a surveillance system monitor (with most wondering what that job even is).
For the ALJ to call a Vocational Expert (VE) to testify is a quite common practice These individuals are considered experts in the field of vocational placement of workers, with knowledge of the employment landscape both regionally (where the claimant resides) and in the national economy.
The purpose of having a VE at your hearing is to provide the presiding ALJ with an assessment of the types of past work you have performed (within the 15 year period prior to becoming disabled, called your past relevant work), your educational background and the extent to which you have acquired skills that might transfer to occupations other than what you may have performed in the past. They are then called to testify as to the availability of jobs either regionally or in the national economy that might be available for someone such as you (that is, based on your particular vocational background). Continue reading