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HomeDisability InsuranceSSA Updates Occupations Used to Evaluate Disability Claims

SSA Updates Occupations Used to Evaluate Disability Claims


The Social Security Administration (SSA) has updated its list of occupations used in disability evaluations to ensure relevance to the current job market. When deciding if someone isn’t eligible for benefits, the agency must show proof that the person can do work that exists in significant numbers across the country. They rely on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and the Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in the Revised DOT as reliable sources of job information.

However, the SSA has recently identified 114 occupations that are now rare or non-existent in all U.S. Census divisions and will no longer use them to deny disability claims. The excluded occupations include:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Astronomer
  • Geographer
  • Genealogist
  • Historian
  • Airline-Radio Operator
  • Dispatcher
  • Radio Officer
  • Radio Station Operator
  • Wire-Transfer Clerk
  • Directory-Assistance Operator
  • Telegrapher
  • Pay-Station Attendant
  • Model
  • Impersonator, Character
  • Cook
  • Embalmer Apprentice
  • Embalmer
  • Animal Breeder
  • Fur Farmer
  • Livestock Rancher
  • Hog-Confinement-System Manager
  • Canary Breeder
  • Poultry Breeder
  • Reptile Farmer
  • Fire Warden
  • Fire Lookout
  • Fire Ranger
  • Log Grader
  • Log Scaler
  • Ladle Liner
  • Stopper Maker
  • Loft Worker
  • Model Maker
  • Camera Repairer
  • Watch Repairer
  • Assembler
  • Banking Pin Adjuster
  • Barrel Assembler
  • Chronometer Assembler and Adjuster
  • Hairspring Assembler
  • Hairspring Vibrator
  • Pallet-Stone Inserter
  • Pallet-Stone Positioner
  • Watch Assembler
  • Timing Adjuster
  • Jig Builder
  • Thread Laster
  • Field-Service Engineer
  • Paperhanger
  • Billposter
  • Dredge Operator
  • Terrazzo Worker
  • Diver
  • Tower Operator
  • Yard Engineer
  • Car-Retarder Operator
  • Laborer, Car Barn
  • Hostler
  • Transfer-Table Operator
  • Motorboat Operator
  • Dinkey Operator
  • Dock Hand
  • Roof Bolter
  • Power-Reactor Operator
  • Motion-Picture Projectionist
  • Audiovisual Technician

Additionally, 13 occupations have been flagged for increased evidence requirements due to federal court concerns:

  • Addresser
  • Document Preparer, Microfilming
  • Cutter-and-Paster, Press Clippings
  • Tube Operator
  • Silver Wrapper
  • Host/Hostess, Dance Hall
  • Host/Hostess, Head
  • Surveillance-System Monitor
  • Almond Blancher, Hand
  • Nut Sorter
  • Magnetic-Tape Winder
  • Puller-Through
  • Microfilm Processor

These changes are intended to make disability determinations more accurate and fairer, and the SSA continues to review the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey to inform future updates. For more details, you can read the full announcement here.