The Importance of Vocational Evidence in Disability Claims
When visiting a St Louis long term disability lawyer, one of the questions you might have is how information related to your occupation will be used in your claim. So-called “vocational evidence” plays a very important role in a number of ways, and can greatly affect the decision you receive.
What Is Vocational Evidence?
Vocational evidence is any information related to your occupation, and deals primarily with your job description. Insurance adjusters may use the job description of your employer, in addition to information contained in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles or the professional opinions of vocational rehabilitation consultants to determine what type of work you normally perform. They may also consider your own self-reported job description, in addition to any unique considerations of your particular employer.
Long Term Disability Considerations
When applying for long term disability, you are asserting that you are unable to perform the required duties of your “own occupation.” After filing a claim, an adjuster with your employer’s long term disability insurance carrier will review vocational evidence to determine whether or not you actually meet the criteria for filing a claim. The adjuster may also speak with your employer concerning any special requirements of your position to help with making a determination.
Most long term disability insurance only provides coverage under the “own occupation” clause for a limited amount of time, typically 24 months. After that time, you will likely be required to prove you are unable to perform any occupation if you are to continue receiving benefits. Vocational evidence becomes more important than ever once your initial benefits are exhausted, because the burden of proof is then on you to show you are completely unable to work due to your original disability. Claims adjusters will consider a number of factors including your health, previous work experience, age, and level of education or training to determine if there are other occupations you might be qualified for.
Providing Your Own Evidence
You may also provide your own vocational evidence showing you are unable to perform your own occupation. With assistance from a St. Louis long term disability attorney, you may obtain a professional opinion from your own vocational expert in order to back up your allegations. You may also review the insurance company’s analysis and rebut any false information or inaccuracies you discover as a result.
Filing a Social Security Claim
If you anticipate being unable to work for an extended period, filing a Social Security claim might be a better option. A St Louis long term disability lawyer can help guide you in this process by helping you show how your condition prevents you from performing “substantial gainful activity.” This will involve carefully scrutinizing the vocational evidence available in your case to show you are unable to perform the same type of work you regularly did in the past.
Social Security Administration Appeal
Many applicants are initially denied Social Security benefits, and must therefore file an appeal. As a part of the appeals process, your case will be heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge, who will then review the vocational evidence and determine if there is any type of substantial gainful activity you may perform. Having a St. Louis long term disability attorney represent you at this hearing can greatly increase your odds of success. That’s because an attorney can rigorously cross examine any vocational experts, and can also provide evidence that might clear up any confusion concerning your physical ability to perform certain work.
Contact a St Louis Long Term Disability Lawyer Now
In any disability claim, vocational evidence plays an important role in determining whether or not you receive benefits. If you’re suffering from a disability, don’t wait until your bills become insurmountable before asking for help. You should also avoid handling the matter on your own, since dealing with vocational evidence can be a complicated matter. Contact St Louis long term disability lawyer David M. Hicks at (314) 812-4885 to find out what type of relief might be available to you.