Hypothetically Speaking…About You

If you’ve never had any prior experience with Bellaire disability claim appeal hearings—and most of our clients haven’t—the way the administrative law judge discusses your claim with the expert witnesses during testimony might be a little confusing.


What the judge and the witnesses know about you and your case is essentially the tip of the iceberg, so there is no way they could discuss you directly. To do so might invalidate witness testimony and, therefore, your hearing.


To compensate, the judge will ask the witnesses questions about a non-existent person with the same medical impairments and background as you. These hypothetical questions are intended to help the judge understand your case without suggesting it is the absolute reality.


Some of the problems with hypothetical questions include:


  • You aren’t the non-existent person being discussed.
  • The judge and witnesses don’t have a complete understanding of your symptoms, limitations, or background.
  • The VE may not think of every function necessary to perform suggested jobs.
  • The judge may not include crucial aspects of your medical condition in hypothetical questions.


Effective cross-examination tactics are one of the most important things an experienced Bellaire Social Security lawyer will bring to your trial. By combining a deeper understanding of your case with any functions of a recommended job the VE may have missed in their testimony, an attorney may be able to convince the VE to dismiss the job, increasing your odds of success.


Schedule a free case review with Morgan & Weisbrod to learn more. Call 877-898-1581or complete the online form. When you call, ask how to get a free copy of our informative book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law
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