July 16, 2009

Do Medical Experts (ME) or Vocational Experts (VE) Always Testify at an Administrative Law Judge Hearing?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability claimants often ask if the Social Security Administration (SSA) will always have experts testify at their Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing.  In simple terms, the answer is “no, not always.”  There are multiple reasons why an expert may not testify at the disability hearing.  Some ALJ’s simply do not use a Medical Experts (ME) or Vocational Experts (VE).  Other ALJ’s may use one expert but may not use the other expert.  Although the reasons vary, some reasons could include the availability of these experts and whether or not the ALJ has already looked at your case and may decide you are getting a favorable decision before you have even walked through the door. 

expert photo.JPGMany experienced Administrative Law Judges feel that they can make a fair decision based on the claimant’s testimony and the medical records.  Hopefully, they have looked thoroughly at the claimant’s medical records and will come to a fact based decision as to what the limitations are regarding the claimant’s disability.  Once the ALJ has established the limitations, they consider whether the claimant can perform their past employment, or with the restrictions determined, whether they can perform other employment.

Are your chances of winning your disability claim better if there are no experts?  In Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis’s opinion, probably not.  While expert testimony can help lay out the framework for a decision, most Administrative Law Judge’s are going to go through the same process without the aid of expert testimony.  An attorney representing you in your disability claim should be ready for the presence of experts and have an appropriate line of questions ready if needed.

If you have questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim, contact Attorney Scott Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.

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