Another mistake many people make is thinking that, just because they can’t do their past work, that is enough to qualify them for Social Security disability or SSI benefits. It is not enough. Unless you meet a Listing (one of Social Security’s categories of severe impairments), Social Securilty will look to see if you can do other work which exists in the national or regional economy. Social Security will often use a vocational expert at the hearing to help the Administrative Law Judge decide if there are other jobs that you can do with your impairments. You may hear the vocational expert testify that there are thousands of jobs out there that you can do. For Social Security’s purposes, it doesn’t matter if there are any job openings, or whether any employer would actually hire you. The only consideration is whether you can do the job. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer may cross-examine the vocational expert. This can be very important to your case, because if the Administrative Law Judge agrees with the vocational expert that there are thousands of jobs that you can do, you will not win your case.

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