An individual applying for Social Security Disability and/or SSI benefits has the ultimate burden of proof of showing that he or she is disabled. Sometimes this process requires a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). When a Social Security Disability or SSI claim goes to a hearing before an ALJ, there is almost always a Vocational Expert (VE) who testifies at the hearing.
The reason for this is because at Step 5 of the five step sequential disability analysis, there is a limited shift of the burden of proof to the Social Security Administration to show that there are jobs in significant numbers in the national economy that a person with the claimant’s age, education, work history and functional limitations can do. The ALJ will ask the VE a series of hypothetical questions to determine whether or not such jobs are available. The VE will use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to categorize any jobs that they believe may be available. If no jobs are reasonably available, then the person is found disabled.
It is useful for a claimant to have an attorney or experienced representative to assist them in understanding this part of the hearing and to ask appropriate questions of the VE.
The reader may have noticed the use of several acronyms in this post; i.e., “VE”, “ALJ”, “DOT.” The terminology in a Social Security Disability or SSI claim can be confusing and technical. An experienced attorney or representative can help a disabled claimant understand and make sense of the technical terms used by the Social Security Administration during the disability application process.
Call today to speak with a Social Security and Disability Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City!