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SSA working on the update to the occupational info system

A very important part of a disability determination in the Social Security Disability Insurance program is Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). This large dictionary was a compilation of job descriptions and what each job entails. It is used for a disability determination, as it is one of the tools used by SSA to decide if an applicant is able to do any other type of work given their impairments or limitations.

Unfortunately, the last revision to the DOT was back in 1991. Twenty-six years is a long time, and at that time, much of the internet economy did not exist. The internet itself was still a proprietary communication system for research universities. Most computers still operated on DOS, there were no cell phones, no smart phones, no Amazon, Facebook or Google.

The update to the system is long overdue, but the process of analyzing and classifying all jobs in the United States is daunting. SSA has begun to develop a new system that will use a new data set created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which will replace DOT.

This new system, known as the Occupational Information System (OIS) will be accessed through a new computer interface, known by yet another acronym, Vocational Information Tool (VIT). This new system will accept data from the Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET) and Military Occupations from the Military Occupational Classification (MOC).

Why would you, as an applicant for SSD benefits care about any of this? If it works accurately and properly, it should improve efficiency with disability adjudications and allow more consistent performance with these decisions. Of course, if it has technical problems or other issues, it may lead to incorrect denials of claims.

During the implementation period, all applicants will need to be vigilant and ensure that their applications are not denied because of a coding error or system problems with OIS.


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