Vocational Expert Services, Inc. has a Blanket Purchase Agreement with the Social Security Administration. This is to provide vocational expert testimony in Social Security Disability adjudication hearings. Mr. Lessne, the President of Vocational Expert Services, Inc., has testified for years in Social Security Disability adjudication hearings.
Social Security disability claims examiners make determinations on applicants’ medical eligibility for Social Security disability (SSDI or SSDI) claims. Most disability claims examiners work at state agencies rather than Social Security.
Gathering Medical Evidence
First, the disability examiner is responsible for gathering all of your medical records. They also acquire additional information from you, your representative, or your doctor.
The disability examiner is also responsible for maintaining contact with you. The examiner may call you or send you a questionnaire. Or they may ask you to fill out more information about your work history or education.
Putting Together Medical and Vocational Information
The disability examiner then gathers together:
- medical treatment notes
- consultative examination results
- your relevant past work history (jobs that you have performed in the fifteen years prior to the onset of your disability), and
- information on your educational background.
Making the Disability Determination
The disability examiner uses this information to make a disability determination with the help of a “medical consultant” (a doctor who works for Social Security). In most cases, the disability examiner will complete a medical decisional write-up. They will ask the medical consultant to review it and sign it. In writing up the medical decision, the examiner will discuss whether your impairment meets the requirements of a disability listing, and if not, whether your residual functional capacity (RFC) is enough to allow you to work some type of job.
The medical consultant, or state disability unit physician, is supposed to develop the RFC, but this does not always happen. The examiner should at least consult the doctor on the nature and severity of your medical impairments as well as what kind of additional medical evidence is needed to decide your claim. The examiner is not allowed to make decisions on medical eligibility without consulting the doctor on these points, except in quick disability determination (QDD) cases. (QDD cases are those with straightforward facts and obvious outcomes. In QDD cases, a single decision maker (the examiner) is allowed only to approve a case. They cannot to deny a case, without a physician’s review.