Medical or Vocational Expert Witnesses are people who have been contracted by the Social Security office. The office keeps a panel of experts in both the medical and vocational fields that an Administrative Law Judge can choose to have at a hearing if he/she feels it will be helpful.
When you receive your hearing notice in the mail, it will state if a medical and/or vocational expert will be present at your hearing. It is the decision of the judge who will be presiding over your case if he/she wants an expert witness at the hearing.
Vocational experts are able to identify the skill and exertion required by a claimant’s previous job. They are at the hearing to state the skills that you have that can transfer to another position and what work is within your physical ability, educational, age and previous work experience. They may offer suggestions as to what other jobs you are capable of holding.
Medical experts are either physicians or psychologists and their responsibility at the hearing will be to interpret medical evidence, clear up any discrepancies in the evidence, state if medical findings are present which meet a published acceptable disability listing, and establish what your physical ability for further employment might be. The medical expert will review the medical records in your file and give his/her opinion as to whether or not you meet one of the listed disabilities. The judge may ask the witness for his/her opinion on your functional limitations from your medical condition.
Medical and Vocational expert witnesses tend to have strong opinions. They have been called to give impartial testimony on your case. However, some testify as if they are there to help benefits be denied or come in with their own personal biases. You should consider having an experienced social security lawyer present if you see that you will have either a medical or vocational expert witness present at your hearing.