The Labor Market Expert
By Nicholas Wearne, Associate Attorney
In addition to you and your attorney, there will be a hearing monitor, the judge, and a labor market expert present at your hearing for social security disability benefits. This blog post focuses on the labor market expert and his/her part in the hearing process.
In order to qualify for social security benefits you must show that you cannot do your past work, nor can you do any other “relevant work.” What is relevant work? Well that depends on your age, what kind of work you did in the past, among other things. The labor market expert is a job specialist who gives an opinion about what a person can and cannot do as far as “relevant work”.
What usually happens is the judge will ask a number of hypothetical questions, for example, “If I believe the claimant is limited to 10lbs lifting and cannot sit for more than one hour, is there any relevant work that he/she can do?” The vocational will then give an expert opinion about “relevant work”. The judges normally do not decide whether a person will be approved during the hearing thus they will get ask a broad range of hypothetical questions.