It would be very unusual to have a Social Security hearing without a vocational expert. The judge is not an expert on whether or not there are jobs that a claimant, an injured disabled individual, can perform in the national economy. That’s the test, are there jobs that can be performed? Even if you can’t go back to your old work, is there a different kind of work that you can do? Therefore, the judge is going to rely on the vocational expert to express an opinion, based on a hypothetical question where the judge will describe what the limitations of this hypothetical claimant are and ask whether or not such a person is disabled.
Social Security also uses grids, which are medical vocational guidelines, which will tell you whether or not an individual at different levels of education and different levels of exertion that they can actually perform are disabled. Between the vocational expert and those grids, the judge will make a decision.
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