Replacing the DOT

Social Security currently relies on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for its analysis of potential jobs in the national market related to a claimant’s ability to perform a job. This reference however is woefully outdated and the Administration has concluded that it needs to rely on a more current resource.

For that reason, the Administration is making plans to create its own system to rely upon for the disability determination process. With the input and assistance of attorneys, vocational experts and legislators, among others, the Administration is collecting information related to the development of a tailored system specific to the purpose of the disability process. This new system is expected to consider occupations from two angels: the person-side element and the job-side element.

The person-side element will include information such as necessary abilities, temperaments, experience, knowledge and skill. Essentially it describes the characteristics or properties of a person that can perform said job successfully.

The job-side element will include information related to the work activities and demands of the job such as duties, responsibilities, environmental conditions and other contextual characteristics. This element describes the particular characteristics or properties of the actual work.

While the creation of this new database is still in the infant stages, it is a move that will better serve claimants at hearing. The requirements and duties of a particular job will now be more thoroughly defined not just in regards to the physical work but the abstract and intangible requirements of performing the job successfully such as working appropriate with coworkers or under deadlines. This is an important move that will help the Administration more accurately view the potential job market and tailor the disability analysis to the process itself.

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