Why SSDI job lists could have you running off to join the circus

by Jun 9, 2015

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When people apply for Social Security disability benefits, they are typically doing so because they can no longer perform their current job responsibilities due to a physical or mental disability. However, the Social Security Administration doesn’t approve SSDI applications based solely on whether an applicant can do his or her current or most recent job.

The agency will often look at the entirety of your employment history to determine if you are fit to perform any of those jobs. If the SSA determines that you can, it will typically deny an application. In fact, it may deny an application if it determines that you can do any type of job listed in their Dictionary of Occupational Titles. This could prove to be quite problematic, considering the fact that these listings haven’t been updated in nearly 25 years.

This means that a huge number of potential job listings are not represented in the directory. It would be unlikely or impossible to find jobs related to the Internet or technology created or improved in the last quarter of a century.

More troubling, however, are the occupations included in the job listings that are antiquated, rare or basic. For example, the SSA may determine that you are capable of working in an occupation that requires you do little more than turn a wheel to shape materials. It may be determined that you are well-suited to be a circus laborer. Your skills may also match those required of a telegram messenger.

Even the jobs that are still current and relevant may be outdated in a sense. For example, if you held a job in medical sales back in 1995, it is unlikely that you would be able to get back into that job without considerable training.

What you can take away from this blog post is the fact that the SSA is using a document that some consider obsolete to make critical decisions on your SSDI applications. Knowing this and being prepared for it can be crucial in knowing how to approach and navigate the system. This can prove to be considerably easier with the help of an attorney.