Page:Michael J. Biestek v. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.pdf/5

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Cite as: 587 U. S. ___ (2019)

Opinion of the Court

Manual I–2–5–50 (Aug. 29, 2014). Those experts are professionals under contract with SSA to provide impartial testimony in agency proceedings. See id., at I–2–1–31.B.1 (June 16, 2016); id., at I–2–5–48. They must have “expertise” and “current knowledge” of “[w]orking conditions and physical demands of various” jobs; “[k]nowledge of the existence and numbers of [those jobs] in the national economy;” and “[i]nvolvement in or knowledge of placing adult workers[] with disabilities[] into jobs.” Id., at I–2–1–31.B.1. Many vocational experts simultaneously work in the private sector locating employment for persons with disabilities. See C. Kubitschek & J. Dubin, Social Security Disability Law & Procedure in Federal Court §3:89 (2019). When offering testimony, the experts may invoke not only publicly available sources but also “information obtained directly from employers” and data otherwise developed from their own “experience in job placement or career counseling.” Social Security Ruling, SSR 00–4p, 65 Fed. Reg. 75760 (2000).

At Biestek’s hearing, the ALJ asked a vocational expert named Erin O’Callaghan to identify a sampling of “sedentary” jobs that a person with Biestek’s disabilities, education, and job history could perform. Tr. 59 (July 21, 2015); see 20 CFR §§404.1567(a), 416.967(a) (defining a “sedentary” job as one that “involves sitting” and requires “lifting no more than 10 pounds”). O’Callaghan had served as a vocational expert in SSA proceedings for five years; she also had more than ten years’ experience counseling people with disabilities about employment opportunities. See Stachowiak v. Commissioner of Social Security, 2013 WL 593825, *1 (ED Mich., Jan. 11, 2013); Record in No. 16–10422 (ED Mich.), Doc. 17–13, p. 1274 (resume). In response to the ALJ’s query, O’Callaghan listed sedentary jobs “such as a bench assembler [or] sorter” that did not require many skills. Tr. 58–59. And she further testified that 240,000 bench assembler jobs and 120,000 sorter jobs