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How does SSA decide if there is an inability to work?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2016 | Qualifying For SSD/SSI Benefits

Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance opens Ohio residents up to a lot of judgment by government officials. To determine if a person qualifies for benefits, the Social Security Administration must decide if the applicant meet all kinds of qualifications, from citizenship status to how long his or her condition might last. One decision that must be made is whether the applicant’s condition not only prevents them from doing their past jobs, but whether those disabilities prevent them from working in other available jobs as well. But how does the SSA make this decision?

According to an SSA webpage, these officials must figure out what the requirements are to do other jobs that exist within the U.S. economy. One resource they use for this is the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Dictionary of Occupational Titles.” This index contains listings for many occupations within the U.S., and what the average requirements are for people to do those jobs. From this listing, the SSA will try to determine whether an applicant’s disability prevents him or her from executing the job duties of another occupation.

However, the DOT hasn’t been updated in 25 years, and it doesn’t appear that it will be any time soon. Because of this, the SSA is exploring the possibility of creating a new resource called the Occupational Information System. By working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the SSA hopes this system will not only be updated, but enhanced with more descriptions of mental requirements for various jobs.

When filing for SSDI, applicants may want to think about how they will argue that they can’t do alternative work due to their disabilities. It may be best to be proactive in this area, as relying on an adjudicator to look at a quarter-century old resource for what jobs require may not be the best choice. Those with questions about how to best prepare an application may wish to consider contacting an Ohio disability attorney.