Most disability claims are decided on a medical-vocational basis. Sometimes too little attention is paid to the vocational part of the analysis.
At Social Security disability hearings, the administrative law judge will typically give the DDS residual functional capacity assessment as the initial hypothetical question to the vocational expert (VE) at the hearing. I have had hearings where the VE answered that past work was precluded, and that other work would also be precluded by the functional limitations assessed by DDS. Game over! With that testimony, the judge awards disability benefits.
Sometimes the main problem with the determination made by DDS when evaluating a claim for disability benefits is not so much the functional limitations resulting from the claimant’s medically determinable impairments, but rather than vocational consequences of those limitations.
Vocational evidence is particularly important for disability claimants who are 55 years or older. Those claims often are allowed or denied based upon on the nature of the claimant’s past work, whether or not it can still be performed by the claimant, and whether or not the claimant acquired transferable job skills.
The medical aspects of a case are always important. But don’t forget the vocational evidence, because you can win the case that way as well.