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I had a ssi hearing today and the ALJ didn't ask the VE anything at all is that a good sign that it will be in my favor?

Arendtsville, PA |

I have been dealing with severe anxiety and panic disorder for 3 yrs now.its so bad that I can't drive and limited on places I go.

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Filed under: Administrative law
Attorney answers 1


My understanding is that you have severe anxiety symptoms that are now so severe that you do not drive and that you are limited in the places that you are able to go. You did not say whether you had an attorney or an advocate at your SSA ODAR hearing. If you had an attorney or advocate, you should discuss how things went at the hearing with that person. You also did not indicate how much medical documentation you had as part of your SSA case record. I would guess that you were able to submit medical records from at least the past three years, information about your medications and medical treatment including psychiatric care and, and this is critical, I would expect that you had a psychological evaluation with an SSA consultive medical examiner, namely, a doctor or psychologist that SSA sent you to be examined by and who was paid by SSA.

While it is never easy to read the tea leaves for an SSA/ODAR hearing, I would be hopeful if the ALJ did not ask any specific questions of the Vocational Expert. However this action alone by the ALJ is not a sign, one way or another, as to whether your claim will be approved or denied.

SSA uses what it calls the 5-step analysis to determine if you are disabled. If there is enough medical evidence, specifically if the medical reports from (1) your primary treating doctor; (2) any specialists, i.e. a psychiatrist that your primary treating doctor referred you to see ; (3) the report from the SSA Consultative medical examiner who actually met with you and (4) any reports from SSA medical evaluators who did not actually meet with you, but reviewed your medical records, then the ALJ may make a finding that you were disabled at the third step of the five step disability analysis process. An SSA ALJ will question the VE if it appears that you may still be able to work. Some ALJs will go through all five steps even though a claimant clearly meets the requirements of a disability finding at the third step (this means that you medical impairment meets or equals an SSA Listed Impairment). For your particular medical condition, the specific requirements are at SSA Listed Impairment 12.06.

I would encourage you to speak with your advocate, if you had one, and to be patient. The ALJ may have been satisfied by the medical documentation that was submitted in your case and did not feel the need to get any information from the VE whose information is considered advisory only.

I hope that things go well foryou.

This advice is not a substitute for a thorough evaluation of all of the facts of your situation by an experienced SSA attorney or advocate.



Thank you and to answer a couple of your questions.NO I didn't have a attorney or a rep..MY husband was aloud to come in at the end of the hearing and be a witness to how I function everyday. I had medical documentation from my psychologist whom I see monthly plus from my theripst whom I see weekly both I have been seen for three yrs. now also from my family doctor and hospital but the ssa didn't request I see one of their doctors for evaluation. So now I'm really confused.

Daphne Lori Macklin

Daphne Lori Macklin


My sense is that you have good medical documentation of your condition and the ALJ will rely on that information. As I explained in my answer, if the ALJ believes you have met your burden of proof to establish medical disability at Step 3 of the 5-step disability evaluation process, then he or she may not need to question the VE.

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