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Project Number: p02-06c

Job Demands

Principal Investigators: Chrisann Schiro-Geist, Allen Heinemann, Tanya Gallagher

Project Type: Core Research

Project Year: 02

Thematic Category: Disability Determination Process

Project Summary:

Vocational factors are critical in determining disability at all levels of the adjudication process. Of the initial and reconsideration determinations finding a claimant disabled, approximately 40% are based on vocational factors. Steps four and five of SSA's five-step process for determining disability requires an understanding of work, as it exists in the national economy. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor (DOL) is no longer updating the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), SSA's primary source of vocational information. The DOT's successor, O*Net, does not sufficiently address work activities from the perspectives of functional abilities and occupational demands to meet the current program requirements and, therefore, the needs of SSA adjudicators and vocational consultants, and vocational experts at the hearings level.

The goal of the Job Demands Project is to develop a methodology for SSA to launch an investigation regarding the optimal variables that SSA needs to compare the residual functional capacity of claimants for disability benefits with the occupational demands of work. Specifically, the project will recommend one or more approaches and identify the attendant issues that SSA should consider in its investigation of job demand variables that would be the most useful indicators of the ability to work.

Project Deliverables: