I-2-5-56.Obtaining Vocational Expert Testimony After the Hearing
Last Update: 1/21/20 (Transmittal I-2-232)
An administrative law judge (ALJ) may determine vocational expert (VE) evidence is needed during or after a hearing. For example:
The claimant may establish the existence of another severe impairment that requires VE testimony to evaluate step 4 or 5 of the sequential evaluation process.
Evidence submitted after the hearing indicates that the claimant's functional limitations differ from the hypothetical questions presented to the VE at the hearing.
When VE testimony is needed after the hearing has been held, the ALJ will determine whether the testimony will be obtained in a supplemental hearing or in written interrogatories. In deciding how to obtain the testimony, the ALJ must carefully balance administrative efficiency with the claimant's rights with respect to post-hearing evidence. See Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law manual I-2-5-30. The ALJ may consider:
Whether and when a VE would be available to testify at a supplemental hearing;
The feasibility of scheduling a hearing at a remote hearing site; and
The potential for delays if a supplemental hearing is scheduled.
If the ALJ determines a supplemental hearing is needed, the expert will generally appear by video teleconferencing or telephone.
Regardless of the method used to obtain VE evidence, or whether the claimant is represented, the ALJ must question the VE in lay terms and elicit responses in terms that the claimant can understand (to the extent possible).