HomeNewsWhat is a Vocational Expert and What Role Do They Play in Your Case?

What is a Vocational Expert and What Role Do They Play in Your Case?

Is a disability preventing you from working on a full-time basis? You are far from alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 27% of American adults have some form of disability. You may be entitled to disability benefits through an employer-based ERISA disability plan. Disability claims are complicated—a  vocational expert can play a key role in your case. Within this article, our Illinois long-term disability attorney explains the key things to know about vocational experts and the roles that they play in your case. 

What is a Vocational Expert in a Disability Claim?

In the context of a long-term disability claim, a vocational expert is a person who provides a vocational assessment. They are a professional who has expertise in a wide range of job, related matters, including: 

  • An applicant’s ability to work; 
  • An applicant’s re-trainability given skills, age, and education; and
  • The state labor market more generally. 

The Role of a Vocational Expert in a Long-Term Disability Claim

A vocational expert may be called upon to testify during a dispute over long-term disability benefits. Given their expertise, they are focused on questions regarding whether or not the applicant can reasonably return to work, especially if a form of job retraining is required. Their role can be crucial in determining whether or not a person can qualify for benefits. In other words, a vocational expert is a type of expert witness. They testified based on their specialized knowledge and experience, not to establish individual facts of the case. 

Each Side Has the Right to Retain a Vocational Expert to Support their Case

Who hires the vocational expert? In an ERISA disability claim, both parties—the applicant and the insurance company—have the right to retain their own expert witnesses to support their argument. For example, an insurance company may try to limit long-term disability benefits on the grounds that you can retrain into a different, less physically intensive position. The testimony from a vocational expert may help to assert that such a request by the insurance company is not reasonable, given your medical condition, skills/age/education/work history, and the current conditions of the labor market. 

Contact Our Chicago Long Term Disability Lawyers for a Free Consultation

At Bartolic Law, our Chicago long-term disability attorney has the experience you can trust. If you have any questions or concerns about vocational experts, we are more than ready to help. Contact us right away for your no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our firm provides representation in disability claims and disability appeals in Chicago, Cook County, and beyond. 

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