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Many Applicants Denied SSDI Benefits Due To Outdated Job Titles


When a person applies for Social Security Disability benefits, they have a huge chance of being denied. In fact, most of these claims are denied the first time around.

These denials can happen for many reasons. Maybe the claimant didn’t thoroughly fill out the application or submit even evidence. But sometimes the denials are for reasons beyond the applicant’s control, such as outdated job titles.

That’s right — the Social Security Administration has a Dictionary of Occupational Titles that is used to determine what alternate jobs a disabled person can do. The problem is that most of the

12,700 entries in this dictionary have not been updated since 1977. The index was created by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1938. It was  abandoned in 1991 due to the fact that the United States shifted from blue collar jobs to information and services jobs. The Department of Labor now uses the O*NET database.

Despite this, the Social Security Administration still uses the index when reviewing disability claims. Staff look at these job titles to determine whether or not an allegedly disabled claimant still has the capacity to work.

Social Security Disability benefits are available to those who have a work history but can no longer work due to a medical condition that is either terminal or long-lasting (lasting longer than 12 months). However, the Social Security Administration can deny benefits if it determines that a claimant can work certain jobs — including jobs in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles that are now obsolete. The index lists 137 unskilled jobs that may work for those with the same limitations as disabled people. The problem is that most of those jobs have since been outsourced or disappeared altogether. Some of these jobs include nut sorter, egg processor, and dowel inspector.

The Social Security Administration knows this is true. The agency even admitted it in 2011, when it cited a study that found multiple cases of adjudicators citing obsolete jobs such as  addresser, magnetic-tape winder, and tube operator.

The Social Security Administration is aware that the list needs to be updated. In fact, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to do so, but the agency is still not using the updated list. In 2012, the Social Security Administration contracted with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles with an online database, but this was never implemented. This is frustrating for claimants who are still being denied benefits because their claim statuses are based on job information from the 1970s. It’s an unfair situation that needs to be remedied soon.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits 

SSDI benefits can be hard to get when the Social Security Administration doesn’t do their job to update job titles. Jobs have changed over the years and the government needs to keep up.

A White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can help you get the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.



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