Who decides whether a VE is present at the hearing or not? How can step 5 in the 5 step sequential disability process be decided without a VE present? Thanks for your input.
The Judge decides whether to call a VE; the claimant (you) is free to have their own VE but it will be at your expense. Usually a VE is always needed if the person is over 50 and the issue of transferable skills is an issue or when the person (regardless of age) has any non-exertional impairments (pain for instance). In the majority of my cases a VE is present to testify for the SS Administration.
I know some courts think there is a shift here, but even at step 5 the burden of persuasion remains on the claimant. 20 CFR 404.1512(a) (2012). See also