Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vocational Expert Testimony at Social Security Disability Hearings – Information for Claimants

In a previous article, I drafted a very brief primer on what a Claimant should expect on the day of his Social Security Disability Hearing. One aspect of many hearings that I did not develop to a great degree was the interaction with the Vocational Expert (VE). The purpose of this article is not only to explain the presence of the VE, but also perhaps to provide some direction to Claimants who will be encountering a VE at hearing. As a practitioner, it is important for me to note that this is a very sophisticated area of the Social Security Hearing process, and this note should not be viewed as a definitive explanation. It is a superficial overview with some background about what happens at hearing, and some general wisdom about how to interact with the ALJ and VE in ways that are appropriate and helpful. Simply put, this is written with a mentality of “something is better than nothing”, as opposed to being an exhaustive treatise on the subject of vocational testimony.

First off, the VE should not be viewed as an enemy. They may not be providing testimony that will be helpful to a Claimant’s case, but they are not automatically there to “put you back to work”. In fact, by asking well-targeted questions of the VE, a Claimant can improve his chances at success. The purpose of the VE at hearings is to assist the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in determining whether or not there are a “significant number” of jobs that a Claimant can perform, given that Claimant’s Age, Education, Previous Work Experience, and Residual Functional Capacity. They also opine on whether the Claimant cannot return to his past relevant work as he performed it, or return to the job as it is regularly performed. VEs may be called to discuss transferability of skills from past relevant work to future work as well.

The ALJ most often will open discussion with the VE once the Claimant has been questioned and given an opportunity to testify. Often the discussion that occurs first will be the ALJ questioning the VE about traits of the Claimant’s past relevant work, both from a perspective of how the work is generally performed, and how the work was performed as the Claimant described.

The framework used when providing testimony about jobs is The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), Fourth Edition, last revised in 1991. An online version of this text may be found at http://www.oalj.dol.gov/libdot.htm. It would be this attorney’s recommendation that a Claimant facing hearing view his case file and see if any of the Vocational Reports that were submitted prior to hearing include assessments of his past relevant work. If so, it would be advisable to find this job title and have the scores and descriptions readily available. A job title in this text includes the name of the job and it’s assigned ID, a description of the duties that they worker would be expected to perform, and then a series of values that look like this: GOE: 02.04.01 STRENGTH: L GED: R4 M4 L3 SVP: 5 DLU: 77. Explanations of each of these may be found at the website above, but pay particular note to SVP or Specific Vocational Preparation, which classifies the level of skill it takes to perform a job, as well as the training needed to work independently.

The VE will provide information about the Claimant’s past relevant work as the job is generally performed (straight from the DOT as applicable), and then will modify the DOT specific definition based on testimony given by the Claimant that might cause the ratings to change. Additional information is usually sought regarding what specific abilities and demands are made by a particular job, including demands like kneeling, stooping, fingering, lifting, walking scaffolds, being hot, cold, etc. By asking these questions, the ALJ is creating a baseline from which to analyze the Claimant’s ability to further work. It is important that once the Claimant has the ability to ask question of the VE that, unless the information is already volunteered, that the VE be expected to produce the descriptor values (SVP etc.) as shown above. This forces accountability on the part of the VE, and also can be used to verify the level of experience of the VE at making such determinations. For cases where the VE modifies the ratings of a job from what are shown in the DOT, a number of questions are appropriate. Some questions to ask might include (but certainly should not be limited to):

1. What changes exist between your description and the DOT definition?

2. What evidence led you to change the ratings?

3. What experience do you have that provides this knowledge?

4. When did this experience take place? For how long?

It is important here to note that taking an argumentative tone with the VE will not likely be helpful to ones case. These questions are relevant, but should never be asked from a position of arrogance or with an eye toward creating a Perry Mason “Aha!” moment. Please know that most evidence can be reasonable viewed in lights both favorable and unfavorable to the Claimant, and a sympathetic VE is a powerful ally in the hearing room.

The next set of questions between the ALJ and VE typically center on a hypothetical claimant with various health restrictions. Judges will often pose 2-3 hypothetical cases to VEs, which often range from a Claimant who is barely affected to a Claimant who is profoundly affected with health issues. The hypothetical cases will bear features of the Claimant’s illness including symptoms, physician imposed restrictions, diminished physical and mental capacity, and will even consider breaks that are required.

It is with these hypothetical cases that a motivated Claimant can provide strong evidence in support of their case. When the judge asks the VE about the various scenarios, it is important to write down all of the restrictions separately, so that one can refer back to “Scenario 1, 2 or 3” as the case may require. Usually one or two of the scenarios will establish that the hypothetical Claimant would not be capable of work. Those sample cases do not require as much scrutiny.

The hypothetical cases that require the most attention are those hypothetical scenarios that have the sufferer of the described symptoms and limitations returning to work. To create a scenario where the last hypothetical Claimant could not return to work in any job should then be the goal. As such, the questions that should be asked should play with this hypothetical scenario, rather than the Claimant’s own case. Here are some examples of questions, both good and bad.

LESS HELPFUL QUESTIONS –

1. If I am on painkillers how can I get to work?
2. If I have anxiety attacks whenever I encounter someone, how would I be able to work?
3. I can’t sit for more the 10 minutes without a break? Do you think that the factory would let me move?
4. I have to go to the Doctor at least two times a month, often unscheduled, what employer would deal with that?

HELPFUL QUESTIONS –

1. If you add the effects of narcotic painkillers, which include sleepiness and dizziness to Scenario 1, would the hypothetical Claimant be able to return to his past relevant work or would there be other work that he could do?
2. If the hypothetical Claimant in scenario 1 was on the heart medicine Lasix, which causes the need for bathroom breaks once per hour, would he be able to return to his past relevant work or would there be other work that he could do?
3. You stated earlier that the hypothetical Claimant in Scenario 1 would be able to alternate sitting and standing. Would this alternating be at the discretion of the hypothetical Claimant? Would the Claimant’s need to make this determination affect his ability to work?
4. Would a hypothetical employee who is reasonably expected to require 2-3 days off from work per month for physician appointments be able to maintain employment?

As one can see from the sample questions, there is no “master set” of questions that will automatically unlock favorable testimony from the VE. The best advice that a Claimant should follow is to be readily able to quickly identify features of their illness and symptoms of their medicine that might impact their ability to work or maintain employment. They should further be able to craft constructive questions around these features that will draw hypothetical scenarios which feature a Claimant that is unable to work. Issues such as absences, incontinence, short attention span, effects from prescriptions all will bear on employability, and it is the job of the Claimant to bring these to light.

It is important for readers of this note to know that this subject is significantly more sophisticated than the highlights struck herein. Erosion of the occupational base, skill transferability, and residual functional capacity’s effect on the ability to work are but a few of the additional issues that may impact a Claimant’s case when dealing with the testimony of the VE. This note is a superficial view and was not designed to be an exhaustive exploration of these issues, but rather a small note on how to properly interact with the VE and ALJ regarding extremely important elements of a case.

For more information about this article, or to discuss your case with an attorney, contact Thomas O’Brien at Feiler & Associates.

50 comments:

  1. I just had a hearing and was wondering something. If the SSA's VE testifies that there are not any jobs you can do to all the hypotheticals, and you only have non-exertional limitations, is it possible for the ALJ to still say you can work or would you be automatically approved? If he says you can work, what would he base it on?

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    1. My vocational expert testified that there are no positions thant I can hold due to my illnesses and I was still denied! This was april 2012

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    2. i just went to mine with a judge that has a 18% approval rate and the ve testimony was all positive for me.With this judge who denies 82% of all his cases. It,s almost like a mock hearing and that ssa already pre determined the case. something very wrong here since you and i both meet the SSA criteria for disbility.and no where else to appeal. and this is justice American style.

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    3. You can appeal to the Appeals Council within 60 days of decision.

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  2. It's possible for the ALJ to make a determination without regard to the evidence. Whether a groundless decision would withstand review at the Appeals Council level is another matter entirely. Despite this, I would take it as a good sign if the VE testified that none of the hypothetical Claimants could work. Without more facts, I am reluctant to opine further though. Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Well, I have seizures and have since birth, I am now almost 29. about 6 years ago my condition started getting worse and I started having about 5 to 20 simple partial seizures, a day and about 3 to 8 complex ones, blackout and walk around acting odd, a month. It started causing all kinds of problems. Right after it started getting worse I started a new job and I had one where I blacked out about 2 weeks in and they fired me through a letter for not telling them I have them. No one would hire me because I started telling them and my family told me I needed to file for ssi. So I did but ended up getting denied at a hearing because I hadn't received treatment since I came off my parent insurance about 4 years earlier. They didn't have my records from that far back and all I had was ER records. So I dropped the case and found a job by not telling them about the seizures. I worked there for about 2 months until they fired me from missing work and roaming around while I was blacked out wasn't safe. So I ended up having to file again.
    This time I have been going to a program at the hospital and getting meds through a drug program. I have also been put on Blood pressure meds and Anxiety meds for dealing with them all the time. I had been going for 8 month prior to the hearing. The hospital didn't send all my records, just my dilantin blood work charts, in time. The judge allowed us to send them a week later which the lawyer did with my seizure journal.
    At the hearing the judge asked me questions and then the ME and VE. The ME looked over the ER records they had. Said there wasn't consistant treatment and that there was a couple of time I was referred to Mental Health but never followed through. Those was where the ER doc was trying to help me get meds for the seizures and said MH might help but I called and they couldn't. He said that he would recommend a job with seizure restrictions. My lawyer crossed and asked would my new records to go with the blood work change his mind and he said yes (I guess she was talking about the consistant treatment part). The judge then turned to the VE and had him review my past work. Which was all unskilled. Then he posed a hypo asking if someone with my profile could work that would allow me to miss 2 days a month and the VE said "no, 1 maybe 1 1/2 days would be allowed". So the judge then said "well lets say 1 day". The VE mumbled something short like one word. It may have been "no" but it wasn't long enough to list a job or job numbers. Plus his next comments was like he was explaining what he said. Because the judge started writing and the VE just said "Well see even as a cook you are around hot grease so." The judge said "well what about a breakpress operator helper?", which was a job have had along with cooking. And the VE said " well the job itself wouldn't ... but then the work environment." And the judge started writing and said "well what about missing 3 days a month" and the VE said "No". Then my lawyer crossed and asked him could that person work if they needed atleast one extra 15 to 20 break a month and the VE said no. She then said "is that considering productivity and the VE said it didn't matter how good a worker they were, it would cause problems with them getting special treatment. Then she asked if they were required to notify the company of the condition before hiring and he said yes. She then asked if that would affect them getting hired and he said yes. He gave a small speech about the companies ignoring ADA laws. That was the hearing.
    Then after my lawyer said we had a good hearing and got some good testimony from the VE but that she didn't know what would happen but that the judge was a fair one.
    I am not sure if the lawyer is told that after cases or if it was good. Thanks for replying.

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  4. A social security lawyer will make sure you understand the latest social security regulations and will ensure that your paperwork is in order before your claim is filed.

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  5. I just had a hearing last week and the ve testified that i could do light and sedentary work such as file clerk, bench assembler and mail clerk not in a normal postal operation setting in the judge stated hypothetical; however, the judge raised a 5th hypothetical and injected my neurological problems (seizures, long history and migraines)into the hypothetical and ask whether or not any jobs exist in the national economy and his reply was "none". How could or can the judge rule?

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  6. I had my hearing and when the testimony came from the VE, they judge asked 3 hypotheticals. The first two the VE said I could not do. When he came to my last job (one I had while in college) telemarketing. All the VE said was I was non-competitive. He didn't give any job availibilties or nothing. All he said was "non-competitive" and the minute he said that, the judge ended the hearing. Can you tell me what that may mean?

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  7. It's important to remember that Vocational Testimony is one piece to a bigger puzzle. Ultimately, the VE testimony can go your way, but the Claim may still fail. With regard to the previous two comments, I submit the following.

    I think that there could be positive implications in both statements (no jobs or non-competitive). I am not 100% what non-competitive means in this context, so I am assuming that a hypothetical employee could not maintain employment in a competitive role, given the assumptions. I think if this was the only job that got further than a "cannot do", the VE portion of your hearing went reasonably well.

    With regard to the comment regarding hypothetical cases where the judge finally created a hypothetical that eroded the job base, I think that this case is going to turn on whether or not the judge credibly is convinced that your symptoms match those of the hypothetical he used (assuming all other factors are in place). As such, I would not start to cash checks yet, but I certainly would take it as a good sign that a hypothetical which you believe to be a fair amalgam of your condition is unable to work according the VE. Hopefully the judge feels this way about that last scenario, and not that an earlier scenario where the Claimant could work best fits you.

    Good luck to you both, and thanks for visiting!

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  8. I am 51 years old and have lupus and many other problums. my hearing was last week and VE said there no jobs now or in the future for me. My last jobs were considered heavy on 2 of them and med on the other my fce exam has me as sedatary. Do you suppose this is good?

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  9. Not being able to identify jobs that a hypothetical worker (featuring your characteristics) could perform in the national economy is desirable. I would not consider this the only factor governing the outcome of your hearing, but certainly it is a positive factor. Good luck!

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  10. Plz let me know! The vocational experts had only hypothetical jobs but had no proof of a job to give the alj. does this mean i won or No

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  11. well after 3 long years of paperwork and denials I finally got ssdi approved. Tried to do it on my own, but I hired a attorny at the reconsideration level. It makes a big difference I almost think the ALJ perfer to work with attorneys. So please hire one, it is worth it. Although I did get my congressman involved and it went alot faster. Good luck to everyone waiting for ssdi , its a long stressful road.

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  12. My wife suffers from alot of mental disorders. She is so bad that she tryed to work but on her way to work the first week, she had a panic attack and blacked out and wrecked. She has tryed to cook and clean but if she stands to long,she gets aggervated. breaks dishes, and once passed out and from that she broke her front tooth out. At the hearing the the judge asked her alot of questions and she was up front with him. He asked her where she recieved her medical care, she replyed telling him that she cant go to the doctor with out no income or insurance to pay for it. He asked her if she had a medical card if she would get treatment. Of course she told him yes, but her word was, lock me up for 30,60,90 days or what ever, i dont care, all i want is help. I want help because i cant go on like this. My wife lost her children from a prevous marriage due to her mental illness. And yes a judge took these children away from her. And she told the judge that. She has got into legal problems due to her mental illness. And when the judge was talking to the VE, he give two hypothetical stands. the first one the VE said that there are jobs such as house keeping, folding laundry, and soldering that a person with those ability could do. Then the last one he said that there was no jobs a person could do. THEN THE JUDGE ASKED HOW Long you had to stay at a job to obtain skills. and the VE said the DOT requires one year (state of KY), and the judge said that he was not going to consider ANY past work history at all because my wife has never been able to get a job for over 1-2 months. My wife took two personal letters in with her and some more medical and legal information and submitted them to the judge. He breifly looked at her mothers letter to him, and told my wife that he is going to take into much concerdiation of her mothers letter and wishes. In that letter it stated bout how her mother is scared of her at times. About her mood disorders, ect...and about how her family has a sewvere mental history so bad that she has a family member on death row in another state. And that my wife has the same mental disorders he had, but a few more, when he was her age. That she was so scared that my wife is going to end up like him in prision, or dead. She also suggested a over signer of her check if she got it.
    The judge give a wink when he said this to my wife bout the information she submitted. Now is this good or bad? I really want to know if taking her work history out of concideration if it hurts her case or makes it better for her.

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  13. I just had my hearing today and I represented myself. The "hypothetical" questions seemed irrevelant to my case and unwarranted and I felt the judge intentionally left out my PTSD and was only going with my hearing loss impairment as noted by the ME. So the VE at the time said there were 3 jobs that I could perform until I brought up the side effects of my meds - in which the VE newly stated that I could not perform past work or any other work due to the meds side-affects. Does this mean I should win my case?

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  14. I had a hearing finally after 2 years of waiting..The ALJ did not ask any "hypothetical" questions to the VE..The only thing that was asked of the VE was about my prior work and she responded with few jobs with codes and then the ALJ asked if there were any I could do,or if any were in my location and she said NONE..I honestly can not remember exactly what was said because I was so nervous..Is this a good thing on my case,and does this mean I won??

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  15. My father went to his hearing today after waiting years. He has bipolar, social phobia and depression along with some medical problems with his breathing and heart. During the hearing the judge didnt ask any questions to the vocational expert is this a bad thing?

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  16. ve said NONE and judge said that i couldnt go back to my previous job, does the judge base his decision on the ve .

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  17. The Judge gave two hypotheticals and the VE said to the first that there was work I could do and I did have transferable skills, second hypothetical the VE said no to both past and previous. Then my attorney took my work limitations and restrictions and questioned the VE and he said that there was no way no how that I could do any work at all. Work restrictions are 2 hours a day, no driving, no bending, twisting, pulling, no over shoulder or head work, no use of right arm, left arm frequently, standing occasionally, sitting frequently, but standing, sitting and walking as to when I need to do so. Waist to shoulder work continously but makes no sence with no right arm being used and left only frequently 63%.. Is this a pretty good sign?

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  18. i had my hearing feb-10 2012 before the hearing the judge ask for the attorney ..my att came back and said the judge said i could have benifits if i amend the onset date to oct...2011 we had ammended the date once... my att said no because the judge was being a bully and we had a solid case so lets present it to the court... could i be denied because i did not amend the date a second time.......

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  19. I had my hearing just 2 days ago it was short, and quick. The judge asked me and my lawyer questions then stated what I couldnt do then asked the VE is their any jobs and he responded yes. Two, which was a linen packer and something else cant remember. Then the judge said im not gonna count your cashiering and waitressing just your Nursing! What does that mean??? Im soooooo anxious

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  20. I just had my hearing today Aug. 24th. I had my attorney, ALJ and a V.E. VE stated that I could no longer go back to my previous jobs and then was asked if there were any jobs I could do with my disabilities.......v.e. said there are no jobs. What does this mean?

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    1. same thing happened to me, my lawyer said, this means I have a better than 50 50 chance now,keep us posted,.

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  21. wel, I am 61 years of age, will be 62 december 10th,
    my hearing was november 9th,
    bipolar 1 ,major depression,hyper insomnia,severe psychosis,.mental records are over 800 pages,
    the VE stated there are no jobs I can do, and no hypothetical jobs I can do,
    sounded like I have a chance, but, I m waiting, for decision,
    but, after reading of those denied, even with the VE saying NO to any work, I feel greatly discouraged.,.,.,.,.,.I dont know how I will handle being shot down,

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  22. I have a question about my hearing with the VE that is driving me nuts. The judge asked a few hypothetical questions and the VE had the nerve to say that I could do my previous work and also be a clerk and she quoted statistics on those jobs locally and there were thousands. I can't stand for more than 20 minutes and sit for 30 before my hip starts hurting and burning. I said I wouldn't be absent several days a month and would have to take several breaks for about 2 hours and then would have to lie down. Still the VE said this and I was shocked. The last question the judge asked was if someone with my disabilities and everything I started so far, could I find a job and work and she had to say no. It confused me because she said yes to about 3 questions and then finally no. My attorney said the last question was all that counted. Is this true and how could she say I could do my regular job when she heard how I was hurt on my job and can't lift over 20lbs? I was an administrative assistant but took on other jobs such as handling gulfstream parts, 70 a day and they each weighed 17 lbs. I also took over the delivery driver position and the shipping and receiving. I have disc and joint disease plus osteoarthritis. All of this is back up my mri's and my doctors notes. But the VE saying I could still do my job confused me and upset me too.

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  23. Sorry, I meant to say I couldn't lift over 10 pounds and that I would be absent several times a month. I also can't extend my right arm out or behind me cause I get a lot of pain and I have my doctors word and 2 mri's that talk about my osteoarthritis. My attorney seemed to think it went well.

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  24. Jan your case sounds a bit like mine. I had the ALJ ask the VE who was also an ME one hypothetical using some statistics he read from paperwork from 2007 and information that was completely incorrect. The VE came back with 3 possibilities of sedentary work and the Judge asked him to give him National and Regional numbers only and repeated that to him numerous times. Then the Judge asked after everything the expert has heard and read does he believe I could do any of those sedentary jobs and the VE stated no. So then we posed a hypothetical of our own about someone who is extremely affected by medication that makes them dizzy, drowsy and sometimes confused and the VE stated there were no jobs for them and the Judge asked regarding me specifically and again the VE stated no. The Judge then asked one last question and that was were there any jobs that a person could do that would require them every hour or so to take 15-20 minute bathroom breaks that are unexcused and the VE said no, none.

    The Judge closed the case and said we should be hearing his decision in a couple of weeks. I am hoping for a favorable outcome, but again, people have put down that their VE stated there were no jobs for them but they were denied. I've only seen 2 cases like that in all my research but they never give a back story so I don't know what happened or why they were denied. If the VE states you can work and your lawyer has to grill them like a tuna to change their mind then it would be a different scenario obviously.

    I just pray for a favorable outcome, it has been 4 long years and I don't know how much more I could take. It would be a nice Christmas gift to receive that letter fully favorable in the mail. My Judge by the way, was extremely nice and made me very comfortable.

    Thomas just asking what you may think of my hearing? Thank you.

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  25. I just had my hearing in Dallas and the voc specialist said no that I could not do any of my previous jobs, but then she said that there where some jobs that I could learn to do. The pycologist said that I was depressed and I need to stay away from supervisors and co-workers. The doctor sais yes that I do have the trigger points for fibromyalgia and I was depressed but he still said I could do things. What do you think my chances are?

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  26. Had a hearing myself 3/13/13: the vocational expert said no to all four of the questions and then the judge said, I make a decision so its 6 weeks still nothing in the mail

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  27. Had a hearing myself 3/13/13: the vocational expert said no to all four of the questions and then the judge said, I make a decision so its 6 weeks still nothing in the mail

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    1. My representative told me after my hearing on 6/26/13 that it can take up to 90 days to receive a decision from the ALJ. The ALJ also told me that it would take a while to receive his decision in the mail. According to the SSA website, they stated they push to have a decision made in 30 days. So hang in there.

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  28. I JUST HAD MY CASE ON 4-15-13 THE V.E SAID I WAS UNABLE TO WORK ANY JOBS DUE TO 3 RIGHT KNEE SURGERIES, MAJOR DEPRESSION, SEVERE PSYCHOSIS, DIABETES TYPE II INSULIN DEPENDENT, SYNCOPE, DABILITATING MIGRAINES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, ETC SO I AM WONDERING IF I HAVE A GOOD CHANCE WITH MY CASE, I ASKED MY LAWYER DID I HAVE A GOOD CHANCE OF WINNING MY CASE AND SHE RESPONDED YES, BUT THE JUDGE COULD MAKE HER VERY OWN DECISION REGARDING MY CASE SO I'M REALLY NOT SURE OF THE OUTCOME SINCE I HAVE READ MANY OF YOU BEING DENIED WITH UR CASES.....

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    1. WELL I WAS JUST TOLD BY S.S.A THAT THE JUDGE MADE A DECISION ON MY CASE AND THAT IT WAS WITH THE WRITERS AT A PAYMENT CENTER.....WISH ME LUCK

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    2. WELL FINALLY GOT A DECISION........DENIED, EVEN AFTER THE V.E SAID I CAN DO NO SUBSTANTIAL GAINFUL WORK.....WOW

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  29. I had my hearing with the ALJ and VE attorney and witness. The VE said that with my education and work history I was unable to hold any job in any capacity. The ALJ referenced my extension orthopedic disc herniations from neck to low back, nerve damage, diabetes, heart attack, vasogal syncope, depression/anxiety, fibromyalgia, orthostatic hypotension vasovagal syncope, high blood pression, mini-stroke, cluster migraines, chronic intractable pain, high cholesterol, hyperlidemia. I received a DENIAL from the Judge. When it gave me the 19 page report why - The report had wrong diagnosis, dates of hospitalization that was not mine (as if it was mixed up with someone else) missing Dr. records, dignoses treatments and lengthly hospitalizations. I have been unable to work since 05. I take alot of medication for all of my permanent chronic health problems and I am bed ridden 80% of the time. I have no way to support myself and don't know what to do with so much severe clinical evidence over a long period of time with constant medical care and treatment. Does anyone know what I can do since the denial had many wrong information, missing information, meds I don't take, etc. I am desperate for help. Thanks. Best of luck to all that are waiting on their own decisions..

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    1. HAVE U SUGGESTED GETTING A LAWYER

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  30. I had my hearing on 12/12/12. I found out today that it's with a writer. At my I have a lot of conditions both mental and physical with over 1000 pages to support everything. At my hearing my attorney started and went into most of my issues but didn't go into some I guess due to time. After he finished, the judge started to ask about previous jobs. I answered the first, then the VE spoke up and told the judge that she could be of more help since she was provided a typed description of past jobs. They said some codes. Then the judge asked the VE this one question, "If hyopthetical person cannot lift more than 10 pounds occasionally, cannot sit for 6 hours or stand for 2, are there any jobs available?" The VE then replied, "No, your Honor. There are no jobs available in the national economy." The judge then closed the hearing and said I should hear from her in 3-4 weeks. Here it is 20 weeks later. How does this sound to you? Thank you. :)

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    1. CALL 1-800-772-1213 THEY WILL ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS U MAY HAVE OR YOUR LOCAL OFFICE

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  31. I just had my hearing with my attorney, VE, and ALJ a couple months ago. I remember that the VE stated there were two jobs that I could do; based on the national economy, one job were 10,000 and the other was 8,000. When the judge asked the V E if I had transferrable skills, he said no. Is this one thing I can view as a positive or a negative towards the outcome of my case?

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  32. I had a hearing in Fort Worth on 6/26/2013. I filed for a claim for SSDI due to having several medical conditions, depression and fatigue due to several medications I am required to take that began interfering with my job former position as a teacher.The VE testified that I could not return to any of my prior jobs and that I could not perform light duties due to my conditions. My sister was also allowed to testify, which I believe helped my case. I had a representative, which I was grateful for having her there, due to my severe short term memory. After reading previous responses about claimants being denied after the VE testified that could not obtain gainful employment, I'm afraid that my claim will be denied and I'll have to appeal once again. Has anyone had any positive outcomes?

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  33. My husband went to his hearing today and the VE wasnt there. The attorney said that meant either the judge had already made his mind up to say yes to my husbands disability or if he denies him then its an automatic appeal. She said it would be 60 to 90 days till we get the decision in the mail. The only thing the judge said to my husband was you look familiar have you been before me some time before which he answered no..and at the very end after my husband was asked various questions from his attorney an made their statements he asked my husband why his primary had written saying my husband was back to work to which my husband answered honestly that he was not working. He has not worked since 2011.We live in Florida. What does it sound like it going on we are really confused that no VE showed up. The attorney said everytime that has happened to them the client was approved.

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  34. I myself went to ssi hearing on April 2nd and I use to be on ssi till eighteen but I wanted to work so I work for awhile until my mantel health had worsen and I went to jail for almost two year for cutting a guy in my home from the bar I also have been in recovery for five years now out on probation for seven years I cant go back into nursing field no more or house keeping do to my depression and criminal history I lost my custody to my first born daughter when I was in jail and pass drug use now I'm married and have two children my husband helps with the girls a lot I do so much I seek help weekly for my depression PDSD and byployer disorder and did I also mention that my brain hamrriage at birth and memory lost I was in special education growing up .from what I remember from the hearing is the expert said all the jobs I have done in the past were light duty and heavey duty and that in the end their were no work that I can do at the end of the hearing the expert said walking out and said it went really well to the staff although the judge had last years medically records and wanted more recent records so my lawyer send them in the judge received the records on may 13th 2013 and my lawyer and I call and ask the judge assistant when would we hear back from them she said the end og august the judge is making her descion now Im so scared I won't get do to my pass history in prison and drug use I do remember the judge asking me if you use drugs while working would it interfere with you keeping a job I said yes she said taking you for being honest I have been so depressed lately so many things have been going wrong for me and my family we want to move no funds for deposit because our landlord won't fix anything in the home electrical problems fire hazard and we have bed bugs and all four house that are connected to house have too I'm getting so depressed even more right now some times I don't want to even get out of bed or I just want to cry a lot and want to give up at time although I try so hard on a daily bases for my family

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  35. Hi there; was wondering my SSDI case was Remanded to a different Court and got a new Judge this is my third ALJ Hearing Downtown Atlanta the VE was not brought in at all just sat there falling a sleep? My lawyer was really happy but this was a remand so maybe the VE was not needed really angry my Lawyer did not try for a Bench decision I am going on 5 years with out work and Money. 8 years in Total. Should the VE Testified?

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  36. I had my hearing on Nov 19 of 2013. Judge called my lawyer in. My lawyer came back and said, he sounds like he wants to approve you. He wants to change your onset date to April of 2013. We went in he asked if my lawyer had a chance to discuss.this. The VE never said anything. My hearing lasted 5 mins. Still have not got an answer. Is that a good sign?

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  37. Just had my hearing on 03/17/2014. The VE stated that there were two jobs that I can do. My Atty. Responded by asking if person with her disabilities. If they had 3 migraine headaches per month and had side affects from narcotic meds could they maintain those jobs that the ve said one can do. And his response was no they could not. What are my chances.

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  38. I just had my hearing yesterday. The VE stated no to the hypothetical questions my attorney asked about the jobs that I can do. Is this positive that I won the case?

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  39. i just had my hearing i have transverse myelitis ( a leasion on my t-10 spine) left leg is weak. I went to my hearing today it lasted 15 minutes (shorter than expected) alj asked ?'s then he asked the VE is thier any jobs out thier for him she said yes, then when the judge gave the hypertheticals (2 of them) she said its no jobs for him, judge didnt ask for more evidence, he said he had enough evidence to make a descision, what are my chances at winning. THEY WERE VERY NICE ALSO....

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  40. Hello All, recently had my hearing on June 2, 2014 after a long 3yrs of unjust denials. I suffer from Dysthymia, panic disorder, herniated disc and am also obese.
    The ALj questioned me first about my work history, and why I feel Im unable to work. Then my attorney questioned me about daily activities, then the VE testified that there were 3 jobs in the regional economy that I could do. Attorney them questioned VE asking on each hypothetical if a person who misses more then 3 days a month due to my condition would be able to sustain employment, VE answered no to each hypothetical then ALJ ended with that.
    After reading these comments about cases like mine where the VE said something similar but was STILL DENIED, I am soooo Discouraged!

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