What does it mean when an expert is scheduled to testify at your Charlotte disability hearing?

For more on issues that could jeopardize your claim, contact a Charlotte disability attorney with Bridgman Law Offices at (704) 815-6055.

The judge presiding over your Charlotte disability hearing may want to hear testimony from expert witnesses, in addition to your testimony and the testimony of lay witnesses. (For a discussion of lay witness testimony, see our May 12, 2011 blog post.)

A vocational expert may be called to testify regarding the type of work you performed over the past fifteen years (e.g., your job duties; whether that work was "light" "medium" or "sedentary"). The expert will be asked to give an opinion regarding whether you are presently able to do work you have done previously and, if not, whether you are able to adapt to some other type of work. In most cases, the presence of a vocational expert at your hearing usually means that you will have to work harder to convince the judge you are disabled under the law because the primary purpose of vocational expert testimony is to meet the Social Security Administration's burden of proof in denying benefits.

A medical expert may be called to help the judge interpret the medical reports and records in your case, and understand the nature of your impairment. This typically is necessary when a case involves (1) a complicated medical issue; (2) a mental impairment and the judge wants help completing the required ­psychiatric review technique form; (3) a question about your residual functional capacity; or (4) a question of failure to follow prescribed treatment. The medical expert will be asked to give an opinion on whether your impairment "meets or medically equals" a Listing impairment. If the expert opines that you do not have a Listing impairment, he or she will be asked about the severity of your impairment and your limitations.

If your hearing letter advises that the Social Security Administration has scheduled a medical or vocational expert to testify in your case, you may want to consult with an experienced Charlotte disability attorney about ways to deal with this testimony. If you are not currently represented, please contact us by phone or email.