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Tags: social security | jobs | disability claims

Social Security Deletes Obsolete Jobs Used to Deny Claims

By    |   Monday, 24 June 2024 02:52 PM EDT

The Social Security Administration is eliminating more than 100 obsolete jobs from its list of occupations it used for years to deny disability benefits to Americans under claims that they could earn money by finding jobs in those fields.

The agency had been using federal labor market data that in some cases had not been updated in almost 50 years, and some of the jobs that are now eliminated were "notorious examples of our failure to stay up to date," according to Commissioner Martin O'Malley.

He told The Washington Post that relying on outdated jobs to determine benefits "undermines trust in the rest of the process" of applying for help.

The decision on the list comes after a December 2022 Post interview that showed how the jobs list blocked many people from receiving disability checks.

The list is used by administrative law judges considering appeals when benefits are rejected after the determination is made that a person claiming disability could still work.

But O'Malley said that even though "industrial economies change and jobs fade away, we had not removed these."

Some of the obsolete jobs on the list included reptile farmer, watch repairer, and nut sorter. Some such jobs no longer exist, while others have switched to being performed through animation or overseas labor.

The Social Security Administration pulled a total of 114 occupations from the old database and said that another 13 job titles that have led the agency to lose appeals cases will now need strict reviews to be used as options to refuse to pay out disability benefits.

"This will be a really big deal for disability claimants," New Jersey disability attorney Kevin Liebkemann, who has been working to change the system, commented. "I could tell you stories about the psychological impact it has on disability claimants when they learn they lost their claim that they waited years on because somebody said they could do a job that doesn't exist."

Social Security has used the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to assess disability claims for years, but most of the publication's 12,700 skilled and unskilled occupations haven't been reviewed since the 1970s.

The Department of Labor compiled the listings but abandoned them 33 years ago when the economy shifted from blue-collar work and into the services and information fields.

However, vocational experts with Social Security often cited about 137 sedentary jobs from the list in its denial of benefits claims.

The agency hired the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012 to compile a more modern list, at a cost of $300 million coming in annual payments of $30 million. The data has been made public but Social Security has not been using it, and O'Malley said the agency will not yet switch over to the more modern system.

Republican lawmakers have been pushing for the agency to use the newer system.

"It's essential for Social Security's [use of outdated occupational data] to be removed from our high-risk list," Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, commented. "If they are able to use the modern data they could get better results for recipients and save money in the process."

Other advocates, meanwhile, said striking some occupations from the Directory of Occupational Titles will not fix the problem, as thousands of cases are still pending in appeals courts.

"This is a political solution to a technical problem," said former Social Security Associate Commissioner David Weaver, who helped lead efforts to modernize the system.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Social Security Administration is eliminating more than 100 obsolete jobs from its list of occupations it used for years to deny disability benefits to Americans under claims that they could earn money by finding jobs in those fields.
social security, jobs, disability claims
578
2024-52-24
Monday, 24 June 2024 02:52 PM
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