Written by attorney Jonathan C. Ginsberg

Why do Disability Judges ask so many Hypothetical Questions to Vocational Experts at Your Hearing?

In almost every Social Security disability hearing, your judge will ask a vocational witness to appear and testify. The vocational witnesses role is to offer expert testimony about whether jobs exist in the economy that can accommodate your limitations.

As I discuss in this video, your judge will pose one or more “hypothetical questions” to the vocational expert, with each question including differing degrees of impairment. For example the judge might ask the vocational expert a question that contains the limitations of a mild level of pain which limits the hypothetical person to simple, one or two step jobs.” This level of limitation would preclude most skilled jobs but would not preclude simple jobs such as “hand packer” or “surveillance system monitor.”

The judge’s next question might include a more restrictive limitation, like a severe level of pain which causes significant interference with attention and concentration and leaves the hypothetical person off task 20% of the workday. This level of limitation would preclude all competitive work in the economy.

The “hypothetical person” in the judge’s questions is obviously you and the questions the judge asks may include multiple parts describing multiple impairments at different degrees of severity.

The judge may ask only one question to the vocational witness or he may ask five, six or more. One of these questions represents what is in the judge’s mind and will form the basis of the decision in your case.

As a disability claimant, you want the vocational expert to answer “there are no jobs that exist” to at least one, and hopefully many of the hypothetical questions posed by the judge. The limitations contained in the judge’s questions come from the judge’s analysis of the evidence in your case and from your testimony - this is why we want a complete medical record and support from one or more treating doctors in the form of opinions about your capacity to perform various work tasks. #socialsecuritydisabilityhearing #vocationalwitnesssocialsecuritydisability #hypotheticalquestionsvocationalwitness #ssdihearing FREE SURVIVAL KIT Don’t know where to begin? Download my free “Secrets of Getting Approved” Survival Kit at

FREE CASE EVALUATION If you or a loved one would like a case evaluation for your SSDI or SSI case, please contact me at

CONTACT ME Jonathan Ginsberg Social Security Disability Attorney Website: Facebook: Telephone: 800-890-2262

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