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Disability Benefits Denied Due to Obsolete Jobs in Virginia

Are your disability benefits denied due to obsolete jobs in Virginia? You may not be the only one. The majority of disability claims get rejected initially for the same reason. The SSA evaluates applicants' residual functional capacity (RFC) and vocational characteristics such as age, education, and work experience to assess if they can work in positions other than those previously held. If the claimants are eligible to be able to work in the national economy, it can lead to the rejection of their application.

To find jobs that the claimants could still work in light of their disability, the Social Security Administration consults the "Dictionary of Occupational Titles," a book that details hundreds of different types of obsolete jobs in the United States. This manual, however, has not been updated since 1991, failing to take into account technological advancements and the introduction of new vocations during the last few decades. If claimants can work a job listed in this guide, SSA denies their application for disability benefits.

Applicants can contest SSA's determination that they can do simple, sedentary work. However, it is not an easy task. Whether you need to file an appeal or convince an ALJ that you have a restriction that precludes you from doing even an unskilled, sedentary job, consult a skilled disability attorney as quickly as possible.

Kalfus & Nachman's experienced and proficient disability lawyers in Virginia can help you challenge the vocational expert's testimony at your hearing and help you obtain the benefits you deserve.

SSA's Five-step Disability Determination Process

To fulfill the criterion of disability, you must be unable to participate in substantial gainful activity due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to end in death or that has lasted or is likely to persist for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. To assess whether an individual is disabled or not, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step, sequential disability determination process. They will decide whether you are disabled and qualified for SSD benefits at the end of the five-step process.

SSA uses screens in the first three steps of the adult disability determination process:

  • Step 1: Claimants engaged in a significant gainful activity (SGA) are refused (step 1) without regard for medical grounds.
  • Step 2: Those who do not have significant impairments are rejected in step 2.
  • Step 3: Those with the most severely debilitating or fatal impairments are accepted at step 3.

The last two steps use both medical and vocational factors to evaluate residual cases on a case-by-case basis.

  • Step 4: The DDS analyses whether an applicant's residual functional capacity (RFC) satisfies their previous relevant job's skill and task requirements at this stage. If you cannot return to your last suitable employment, you go to step five.
  • Step 5: The final and most crucial step is determining if you can return to any other job within your residual functional capacity, considering your age, education, and work experience. If there are no unskilled occupations available to you within your RFC, you will be termed disabled. Disability benefits are denied due to obsolete jobs in step 5 of the evaluation process.

Implications of Step 5 of SSA's five-step Evaluation Process

In step 5, SSA evaluates whether a severely impaired applicant can do other work in the national economy. The SSA uses the outdated guide Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to suggest jobs that the claimant can do under the pretenses of their condition to justify the denial of their claim. However, the positions recommended by the SSA don't exist anymore. A few examples of obsolete occupations are telegraph-service rater, envelope stuffer, and microfilm processor.

During many disability hearings, the Administrative Law Judge will seek a Vocational Expert (VE) to submit testimony based on the DOT about what jobs individuals with specific disabilities might undertake. However, legal experts are concerned with this hazy reasoning because vocational experts do not present real-world testimonies for their proposed job positions.

It is critical to have an expert disability attorney on your side to cross-examine the VE and point out the DOT's numerous shortcomings and challenge the VE on the number of recommended occupations that are genuinely available.

Contact Top-rated Social Security Disability Attorney in Virginia Today

Filing for disability benefits without the aid of an SSDI attorney may be a daunting task, especially given the SSA's complex rules. If you have been denied disability benefits due to obsolete jobs, an expert disability advocate can assist you. In Virginia, Kalfus & Nachman's qualified social security disability lawyers can advise you on the SSD application procedure and provide exceptional legal representation in any subsequent appeals. For more information about how our expert SSD lawyers could assist you in getting the benefits you need and deserve, contact us today at 855-880-8163

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