Moderately Unclear: SSVE Approaches to Non-Exertional & Psychiatric Hypotheticals
Vocational Expert (VE) work for Social Security is quite unique and unlike testimony the VE may provide in other venues.VE work in this venue is almost entirely dependent on the information the VE obtains in the course of the hearing itself.It requires the expert to think “on your feet” and respond quickly to a wide variety of hypothetical scenarios.Mental health and non-exertional hypotheticals pose interesting and unique challenges to the VE.Often the mental residual functional capacity (MRFC) assessments are presented as poorly defined, poorly quantified limitations.Often, MRFCs raters assess multiple and complex cognitive and behavioral factors as “moderately impaired” yet opine the individual “can work”, contrary to the VE’s own experience placing individuals in the job market.VEs serve a vital role in the disability adjudication process by taking a comprehensive view of the stated abilities, considering job placement and retention practices in the labor market and clearly explaining your conclusions.
This presentation will provide clear and practical strategies for VEs who are increasingly defending their opinions regarding a growing number of hypotheticals focused on non-exertional/psychiatric disability factors. It will help VEs who would like more techniques new to providing testimony in the Social Security setting; helpful direct information for achieving greater facility in asserting vocational expert opinion and the factual data to support those opinions.
At the completion of this presentation participants will be able to:
- Explain the mental residual functional capacity and other non-exertional limitations in SSA disability determinations;
- Review how the VE in SSA disability hearings considers non-exertional objective and subjective factors;
- Differentiate theoretical assessments of ability from mental health reviewers from realistic vocational placement/retention considerations;
- Describe questions and challenges to expect in the hearing and how to defend your opinion.