Will I Win if the Judge Does Not Use a Vocational Witness or Medical Expert?
Posted Mar 30 2009 3:41pm
what are your chances of winning a case at a hearing when there is no voc rehab guy or medical specialist to assist the alj in a decision. –Lamont
My response: Lamont, I think that yes you can win if the judge does not use a VE or an ME. Here is how I would analyze:
First, what is the custom in your hearing office? In Atlanta, where I practice, all but one or two judges regularly use vocational expert witnesses. There are a couple of judges who almost never use them. If a judge who always uses a VE hears a case without VE testimony, it most likely means that the issue is fairly clear cut one way or the other.
In the Atlanta hearing offices, judges rarely use medical experts - in my practice I would estimate that ME's appear about 15% of the time. The absence of an ME would be of less concern to me here in Atlanta.
I think you need to find out whether the absence of a VE or ME is unusual in your jurisdiction. What does your lawyer say?
I also think that an unfavorable decision issued without the testimony of a VE and/or ME should be looked at carefully by an appellate specialist. Since disability hinges on vocational capacity I am of the opinion that an unfavorable decision issued without VE testimony may give you an appeal angle.