For all those wanting to become a Social Security Administration vocational expert or just thinking about it, Stroud Services is proud to present a recent interview with a newer SSAVE. Let’s check out what Chris Briggman, MS, CRC has to say!
Can you give a brief background of your formal education and experience?
I have worked within the field of vocational rehabilitation since 2012. My experience includes working as a Human Resource Manager, Readjustment Therapist, Supervisory Benefits Specialist, and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. I have worked with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for 11 years in fields related to rehabilitation, readjustment, and benefit eligibility. In these roles I provided counseling, job placement, guidance and case management to individuals with disabilities, veterans, ex-felons, older workers, disadvantage youth, and minorities. While there I worked diligently to create and maintain relationships with other private and public agency providers to better serve my clients. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Coker University in Hartsville, SC in 2008 and in 2013 I obtained a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine. Soon after I became a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCa) to better operate in the field of mental health and vocational rehabilitation.
How and what was your SSA VE training like?
The training held through the Stroud LMS was very rigorous and intense, but it provided me with more than enough preparation to perform as an expert witness. The lessons were full of vital information that produced various different scenarios that normally occur as an Expert Witness. Even the check ride, as intimidating as it was, gave me the same look that I experience when testifying! This was the most helpful part especially since the Honorable Don Stroud was presiding over the hearing with the ever-watchful eye of the highly experienced Ms. Stroud.
Were you ready for your first testimony when you combined training and experience?
At the time would have told you no…but looking back after my experience of 3 months I was more than prepared just a little nervous. The training was more than adequate!
What was your initial experience in testimony like?
In the first couple of hearings, I discovered how intimidating testifying in federal court could be. There were a lot of moments where I could have use extra anti-perspirant. But after the first month it became a challenge to sift through the clues given in the ERE documents, ALJ Hypothetical, claimant testimony, and attorney questions. I am obsessed with the statistical analysis that we use to provide professional testimony!
What would you change about the overall experience?
I would not change a thing other than the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, and even that would not have changed my mind about coming to work with Stroud. Marilyn and Don are the warmest and most encouraging leaders I have worked for in my decade of federal employment.