Vocational Testimony Challenged at Supreme Court

Many disability cases are decided on the testimony of a VE or “Vocational Expert. ” Until now, a claimants had no way to challenge the statistics the VE used to reach a conclusion. VE’s often testify by video and never actually observe the claimant.

That is all about to change. On December 4, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Biestek v. Berryhill, which asks the court to decide whether an administrative law judge may rely on the testimony of a vocational expert who refuses to provide the data underlying her or his opinion. The justices’ decision will have enormous practical implications for the determination of eligibility for benefits. It also will send an important signal about the seriousness with which the court takes adjudications of eligibility for benefits.