Posted on: October 13, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Remember our talk about the Social Security Administration Vocational Expert (SSAVE) Handbook?  We start with that to illustrate the difference between training and education.  However – the SSA VE handbook is full of great details…and we’ll get into some today!

The VE handbook is complete with the “what” of being and doing as an SSAVE.  What the disability process is, what the hearings are, what the SSAVE is responsible for, and so on…we’ll cover getting to your role as a VE today.

When you open the actual Handbook that the SSA releases for the vocational experts, you’ll see that the table of contents lists out neatly some of the different aspects in the program.  Most of these include items that you’re going to be looking up repeatedly.

Examples of some of these items include defining what a vocational expert (SSAVE) is, defining what administrative law judges (ALJ) are, and then really defining a disability in terms of the Social Security Administration and how they handle the entire disability process.  These topics become your starting point for this overview.

More important to you right off the bat is understanding what actually happens at a hearing presided over by the administrative law judge. Next is if the process goes beyond that stage, i.e. what it looks like at an appeals council all the way up to a Federal Court of Appeals.  The SSAVE Handbook incorporates all of these overviews, in turn giving you a good introduction to what you could do if you became an SSAVE. 

The handbook then rolls you right into the actual role of the SSAVE. These items include responsibilities of vocational experts writ large. Examples of these responsibilities include duties such as accessing claimant documents via the Social Security Administration’s Electronic Records Express system, conducting your planning session prior to hearings by making sure that you understand the claimant’s work history and are able to present that articulately in the form of a written and verbal report to the ALJ…yet performing these duties only set the stage for getting you into the hearing.

Before you even show up at the hearing, you should already have prepared and be able to present not only that work history…but also what could possibly change according to the claimant’s ability in a hypothetical situation to now perform past work or relevant work in the national economy.

Those keywords are going to become clear to you in the days ahead…as conducting the role of the SSA vocational expert in a professional manner relies on understanding the key terminology in this new world of the Social Security Administration that you are conducting testimony in…while still providing overall protection of the personally identifiable information of that claimant while presenting an impartial opinion.

At the end of the day, that is really the role.  This framing goes back to our previous article and video about the importance of the vocational expert in that testimony and it continues every single time… protecting the claimant information and then presenting the data necessary for that administrative law judge to render a decision on the claimant’s case on behalf of the Social Security Administration.

Next week we’ll get into some more of the nuts and bolts of the SSAVE handbook.  All of this information is also available now for our VELaunchpad subscribers through Stroud Academy…as well as 50 hours of CEU credit for CRC and 42 hours for ABVE certificants!

Come join us – and let’s start learning together!!!