Social Security Administration Scraps Jobs List That Denied Disability Benefits

By Madz Dizon

Jun 25, 2024 08:59 AM EDT

Social Security Administration Scraps Jobs List That Denied Disability Benefits
In this photo illustration, a Social Security card sits alongside checks from the U.S. Treasury on October 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Photo : Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Monday (June 24)  that it is implementing a change that has the potential to expand the number of individuals eligible for disability benefits.

Outdated Job Database May Deny Social Security Disability Benefits

There has been a modification to a procedure used by the program to assess if a disability applicant has the capacity to secure alternative employment based on their abilities. This adjustment may lead to the denial of benefits.

In order to make that determination, the SSA depends on a jobs database to determine if there are any remaining job options for the applicant, CBS News reported. 

However, there are concerns about the fairness and accuracy of the database. It has not been updated since 1977 and contains numerous outdated occupations, which has led to criticism from some quarters.

Some occupations, such as reptile farmer, railroad telegrapher, and watch repairer, will be removed from the database, according to the SSA. 

The decision comes after the Washington Post brought attention to the case of a disability applicant who had previous experience as an electrician. 

However, the applicant was denied benefits when a judge determined that they could find employment in occupations that are no longer relevant, such as nut sorting, dowel inspecting, or egg processing.

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SSA Cuts 114 Obsolete Jobs from Disability Assessment Database

On Monday, Social Security will be removing 114 occupations from their old database. Now, officials will no longer include jobs like log scaler or watch repairer, The Washington Post via MSN reported.

Thirteen more job titles that have caused Social Security to lose multiple cases in federal court will now need strong justification before they can be used as options for a claimant's work.

Advocates for the disabled pointed out that the Dictionary of Occupational Titles lists a wide range of unskilled jobs, totaling 3,127, which includes many non-sedentary positions that are expected to remain in demand for the foreseeable future. 

These jobs were frequently used as reasons to deny benefits, but are now no longer considered. Here are a few of the positions that are being eliminated:

  • Breeder of Canaries

  • Impersonator of a character

  • Operator providing directory help

  • Dramatic arts historian

  • Projectionist for motion pictures

  • Photographic operator and news wire

  • Operator of a radiotelegraph

  • Farmer of reptiles

  • Watchmaker

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