Whether or not you need a vocational expert report for your long term disability claim will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. A vocational expert report may be a valuable tool to establish your eligibility for long term disability benefits.
Here are some situations where a vocational expert report may be helpful for your long term disability claim:
Your disability is not well documented: If your disability is not well-documented in your medical records, a vocational expert report can provide additional evidence of the impact of your disability on your ability to work.
Your occupation is complex: If you have a complex job with a variety of physical and/or cognitive demands, a vocational expert report can provide a detailed analysis of the specific tasks and requirements of your job, which can be used to demonstrate the impact your disability has on your ability to perform your job duties.
Your disability insurer questions your eligibility for benefits: If your insurer questions your eligibility for benefits, the level of functioning required by your occupation, and/or the severity of your disability, a vocational expert report can provide objective evidence of how your disability prevents you from performing the material duties of your specific occupation.
A vocational expert report can provide objective and substantial evidence to support your long term disability claim. If you are unsure whether a vocational expert report would be helpful in your case, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced ERISA attorney who can help you understand your options and advise you on the best course of action.
Below we’ll discuss what a vocational expert report contains, how a vocational expert report supports a long term disability claim, and how an attorney can help you with a vocational expert report for your disability claim.
Who writes a vocational expert report?
A vocational report is written by a vocational expert. A vocational expert is a professional who specializes in providing opinions and testimony regarding an individual’s work-related abilities, limitations, and opportunities.
Qualifications for a vocational expert may vary, but a vocational expert typically holds at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology, rehabilitation counseling, vocational rehabilitation, or human resources. Some vocational experts may have a certification in their field, such as the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) or Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS) certifications.
A vocational expert will have a comprehensive understanding of labor market trends, job demands, and occupational requirements, as well as the impact of disabilities on an individual’s ability to work. Because of the vocational expert’s experience and credentials, their assessment of your occupation provides your insurance company objective evidence to support your disability claim.
What does a vocational expert report contain?
A vocational expert report is a document that provides an analysis of your vocational abilities and limitations, prepared by a vocational expert. The report can be used as evidence you cannot work in support of your long term disability insurance claim.
The contents of a vocational expert report may include the following:
Introduction: The report will typically start with an introduction that explains the purpose of the report, the nature of the assessment, and the methodology used by the vocational expert.
Claimant’s background: The report will provide a detailed summary of your education, training, work history, and any relevant information that may impact your vocational abilities.
Medical history: The vocational expert will review your medical records and include a summary of the onset of your disability, including any diagnoses, symptoms, and treatments, in the report.
Vocational assessment: The report will provide an assessment of your individual vocational abilities and the physical and cognitive demands of your occupation. The report will explain in detail your day-to-day work tasks and broader responsibilities. The vocational expert will also identify any work limitations or restrictions related to your disability. This assessment is done by reviewing your vocational documents (resume, official job description, etc.) in conjunction with your medical records. Many vocational experts will also interview you personally to make sure they understand the full breadth of your occupational duties.
Labor market analysis: The report will analyze the local and national labor market to identify job opportunities that may be suitable for you based on your vocational abilities and limitations. This includes information about job requirements, such as physical demands, skill level, and educational requirements. If the market does not have any suitable job opportunities given your work history and your restrictions due to your disability, the vocational expert will state this in the report.
Conclusions and recommendations: The report will provide a summary of the vocational expert’s findings and conclusions, including their opinion on whether you are able to perform your occupational duties with your disabling condition.
How does a vocational expert report support my long term disability insurance claim?
A vocational expert report can be a critical component in supporting your long term disability insurance claim. Oftentimes your insurance company may not fully understand what your job entails. They may then misclassify the level of physical and/or cognitive functioning your role requires and falsely conclude that your medical condition does not impair your ability to work.
The vocational expert report circumvents your insurance company’s misunderstanding by explaining in detail the demands of your occupation and how your disability affects your ability to work. You can then submit the report to your insurance company as evidence of your job responsibilities and your inability to perform the material duties of your occupation.
Here are some ways in which a vocational expert report can support a disability insurance claim:
Establishing the impact of your disability on your ability to work: The vocational expert report will provide a thorough assessment of your occupation and its material duties. This can include both physical (sitting for extended periods, keyboarding, travel requirements, etc.) and cognitive (focusing, communicating effectively, multitasking, turning tasks around quickly and efficiently, etc.) tasks. The report also considers your medical restrictions and limitations and how they may prevent you from meeting the demands of your occupation. This can help to establish the impact of your disability on your ability to perform work-related activities.
Identifying transferable skills and vocational limitations: The report will identify any transferable skills you have that could be applied to other occupations reasonable for your level of education and training, as well as any vocational limitations that could impact your ability to perform certain types of work.
Demonstrating the lack of available and suitable work: The vocational expert report provides an analysis of the local and national labor market, identifying job opportunities that would be suitable for you based on your work history as well as your medical restrictions and limitations. This can be used to demonstrate that there is a lack of available work that you can perform.
Supporting your credibility: A well-prepared vocational expert report can help to establish your credibility by providing objective evidence of your vocational abilities and limitations. This can be particularly important in cases where your insurance company questions your credibility or the severity of your disability. If your insurance company is skeptical of your inability to work, the vocational expert report can refute their opinion with solid evidence of how much physical and cognitive functioning your job role requires.
How can an attorney help me with a vocational expert report for long term disability?
An ERISA attorney can be very helpful in obtaining and using a vocational expert report in your long term disability insurance claim. The experienced team at The Maddox Firm has helped hundreds of clients obtain a vocational expert report and understand when a vocational expert report is needed, how to prepare you for the evaluation, and what to review the vocational expert report for to make sure it includes everything necessary.
Here are some ways that The Maddox Firm can assist you:
Identify the need for a vocational expert report: The Maddox Firm can review your claim and help you determine whether a vocational expert report would be helpful in supporting your claim for disability benefits. If so, we can help you find a qualified vocational expert to conduct the evaluation.
Prepare you for the vocational evaluation: The Maddox Firm can help you understand what to expect during the vocational evaluation. We will coordinate with the vocational expert to make sure they review your vital vocational evidence. We can also advise you on how to prepare for the evaluation to ensure that you present your vocational limitations and abilities accurately.
Review the vocational expert report: The Maddox Firm will review the vocational expert report to ensure that it is accurate, comprehensive, and that it addresses all relevant vocational issues in your claim.