I-2-5-48.Vocational Experts — General

Last Update: 6/16/16 (Transmittal I-2-174)

A vocational expert (VE) is a vocational professional who provides impartial expert testimony either at a hearing or in written response to interrogatories during the hearings process on claims under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act. The authority for VEs is set forth in 20 CFR 404.1566(e) and 416.966(e). See also Social Security Ruling 00-4p: Titles II and XVI: Use of Vocational Expert and Vocational Specialist Evidence, and Other Reliable Occupational Information on Disability Decisions.

Before scheduling the hearing, the assigned administrative law judge (ALJ) will review a case to determine whether VE testimony is needed, using the instructions in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-5-50. A designee may also perform this task and make a recommendation to the ALJ. A VE provides testimony by either testifying at a hearing (see HALLEX I-2-6-74) or providing a written response to interrogatories (see HALLEX I-2-5-57). See also HALLEX I-2-5-30.

The following general guidelines apply to an ALJ's use of a VE in the hearing proceedings: