WHAT ARE JOB SKILLS?
There are three types of job skills that the SSA recognizes: unskilled work, semi-skilled work, and skilled work. All jobs fall into these three categories.
If a job is unskilled, then it does not require you to have an education to do the job. It also means that most people could learn how to do the job in under 30 days. If a job requires skills, then it takes longer to learn to do the job. You can learn more about skills by reading Social Security Ruling (SSR) 83-10. When there is a history of skilled or semi-skilled work, the SSA will consider skills that can be used in other jobs. If you can use your skills in another job setting, then your skills transfer to other jobs.
In order for work to be your past relevant work, your must have worked and trained on the job for the amount of time required to learn the skills to do the job.
WHAT IS UNSKILLED WORK?
Unskilled work refers to jobs that do not require special training or education to perform the job. These jobs usually involve tasks that can be learned quickly, often while training on the job. Unskilled work involves routine duties that do not require a high level of special knowledge.
Examples of unskilled jobs might include tasks like basic data entry, manual labor in a factory, or general cleaning and janitor work. It is important to note that while unskilled work may not require formal training, it still plays an important role. It can also be an essential entry point for younger people who are just entering the job market.
In unskilled work there is little or no judgment required to do the simple duties that can be learned on the job. Also, the job duties can be learned in a short period of time, usually less than 30 days. There is also very little specific preparation and judgment needed to do the job. Also, there are no work skills gained from doing unskilled work. Therefore, if your past work is unskilled, the SSA can’t claim you have job skills that transfer to other work. Obviously, there are no job skills learned in unskilled work.
WHAT IS SEMI-SKILLED WORK?
Semi-skilled work refers to jobs that require some basic training or experience, but not to the extent of advanced skills. These jobs often involve tasks that can be learned in a short period of time, such as 3 to 6 months. While semi-skilled workers may not be experts, they are adept in performing their duties.
Examples of semi-skilled jobs might include operating machinery, assembly work, or doing routine tasks. Semi-skilled workers are able to carry out their job duties without help from a supervisor. But, their job may not require a high level of special knowledge. Likewise, they may not need special training.
Semi-skilled work requires some skills. But it does not require doing more complex work duties. Often,
coordination and use of the hands is necessary to do the work. For example, you might need to move your hands and feet quickly while doing repetitive tasks. Also, the jobs require the ability to be alert and pay close attention to machines. For example, you may need to inspect, test or look for problems. You may also need to guard equipment, property, or people against loss, damage or injury.
WHAT IS SKILLED WORK?
Skilled work requires the worker to use judgment on the job. For example, the worker may need to make precise measurements, reading blueprints, or have special knowledge about rules or machines. A skilled worker might have to deal with people, facts or figures. Additionally, they may need to use abstract ideas, follow complex instructions, or have years of specific work experience.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN JOB SKILLS?
The SSA recognizes that it takes a certain amount of time to learn jobs skills at work. They have put together a list that shows how much time it takes to learn skills. Below you will find the table which outlines the amount of time it takes to acquire job skills in unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled work.
SVP by Skill Level
|Short demonstration only.
|Anything beyond short demonstration up to and including 1 month.
|Over 1 month up to and including 3 months.
|Over 3 months up to and including 6 months.
|Over 6 months up to and including 1 year.
|Over 1 year up to and including 2 years.
|Over 2 years up to and including 4 years.
|Over 4 years up to and including 10 years.
|Over 10 years.
THE DICTIONARY OF OCCUPATIONAL TITLES (DOT)
The U.S. Department of Labor publishes the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). The DOT is a reference guide that provides detailed information about various jobs in the United States. It contains a description of every job and the skills an employee must have to do the job. It also contains the physical demands of the job and other relevant job information. Vocational counselors and other professionals use the DOT to place people in jobs.
Each entry in the DOT includes a job title, a brief description of the tasks and duties of the job, and a numerical code to refer to the job. It is a valuable tool to assess the ability of individuals to be part of the workplace, especially for purposes of SSA decisions. The SSA uses the information in the DOT to determine if you have job skills and if those skills transfer to other work.
It is worth noting that the Occupational Information Network (ONET) is beginning to take the place of the DOT. ONET offers a wider range of data on jobs and is now the primary resource for job information in the United States. The SSA has not started to use ONET in hearings.
TRANSFERABLE JOB SKILLS
For people with skilled or highly skilled work backgrounds, winning SSD benefits can become more complicated. If a judge believes that you possess transferable job skills from your past work, then she will find that you can do other jobs using your skills.
However, some skills cannot be used to some degree in any other jobs. For example, being a coal miner is a highly skilled job. But, those specific skills are only used in a mine or a for a job in a mine setting. Coal miners do not have the skills, for example, to become a secretary. To be useful in the job market, skills need to transfer to other jobs. If they don’t transfer, then that fact might prove you cannot work.
An understanding of job skills is one of the best reasons to hire an SSD attorney with experience. Your attorney should have in depth knowledge of the DOT and understand whether or not you have job skills. Next, your attorney should know whether or not your job skills can transfer to other jobs.
WHAT IS RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY (RFC)?
RFC is one of the most important concepts in your Social Security case. The reason it is so important is your RFC can make the difference between winning or losing your SSD and SSI benefits. If you can prove that your RFC prevents you from working, then you win benefits. So, what is your RFC?
The RFC is the definition of what you can physically do in a work setting, after taking into account all of your medical conditions and your symptoms.
Your RFC includes both your physical and mental limits. In terms of physical limits, the SSA tries to define your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift, during the course of an 8 hour workday. Likewise, the SSA will include your ability to carry, pull, and push. Find out more here about how the SSA defines work.
MENTAL RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY
The mental RFC is the same thing as the physical RFC, except it is about your ability to use your mental skills. For example, your mental RFC includes how many minutes you can concentrate at one time. It also includes how often during a normal day you have memory problems.
Likewise, your ability to focus on work tasks and remember instructions is important. Additionally, the SSA will also consider your ability to deal with stress. Your RFC also includes your ability to deal with the public, other workers and your boss. Skilled work requires the ability to focus and finish complex tasks. Unskilled work requires less focus. Find out more here about mental function you need to do unskilled work.
THE VOCATIONAL EXPERT (VE) AND JOB SKILLS
At some point during a hearing, the judge will go over all of you past work. Sometimes, the judge will use the help of a VE to define your past work. The VE will use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) codes for each job. Your attorney must understand the DOT code in order to know if you have transferable skills.
The DOT assigns a nine digit code to a large number of jobs found in the national economy. The DOT is out of date. It was last revised in the early 1990s. Many of the jobs in the DOT are no longer in existence. Likewise, workers no longer perform the jobs as the DOT describes them. Additionally, there is no way the DOT could contain every single job in the national economy. However, the SSA still uses the DOT in hearings, along with the testimony of the VE to update the job information.
Your attorney must know all of this information in order to questions the VE. Most cases are won or lost based upon the VE testimony. If you hire an attorney with no Social Security legal experience, they will not understand how to help you during this portion of your SSA hearing.
PROVE YOUR RFC TO THE SSA JUDGE
Proving your RFC is an important element in your Social Security case. In order to in win your SSD benefits, you can prove that you meet or equal a listing. Learn more here about what it takes to meet an SSA listing. If you do not meet or equal a listing, your can try to win your case with the VE. There are many complex Social Security laws. And, they all apply to each case.
However, we know your case is different than anyone else’s case. You may have cancer or a spinal condition. Or, you may have a rare disease. Even if you don’t have a rare disease, your symptoms are stopping you from working. We know it is difficult. No one wants to face the SSA alone. Especially when you are not feeling your best and you don’t have a job. That is why you should hire a law firm with the legal experience to win your benefits.
OUR EXPERT ATTORNEYS & LEGAL STAFF
If you need help winning your SSD and SSI benefits, then you have found the right law firm. You can learn more about the attorneys at our law firm on our About Us page.
For example, you may want to know that Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win Social Security cases for over thirty years. Additionally, Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have also won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.
In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Our experts can help you file for SSI benefits using the SSA’s website. However, we will need your help to apply for SSI benefits. Why? Because only you know your personal financial information. SSI benefits require you to have minimal assets and monthly income.
Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. There are also many forms that will need to fill out. Don’t worry. If you have questions about these forms, we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms. Call us today for help winning your SSD and SSI benefits.
WHAT OUR LAW FIRM DOES FOR YOU
When you leave that up to us, you can focus on your health. Our attorneys and staff can:
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- File an appeal if you receive an initial denial from DDS
- Collect your medical records
- Help you confirm your SSA Doctor Exam
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
- Prepare you to testify at your ALJ hearing
- Represent you at your hearing
- Question the expert witnesses
- Read more about job experts
- Learn more about medical expert testimony
- Request review of an SSA decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your SSD application online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. It is best to complete the application quickly. You don’t want to come close to the 6 month time limit.
WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE OUR LAW FIRM TO WIN BENEFITS
Before the hearing, we review your physical and mental conditions. That way you can explain how you are not able to complete an 8 hour workday because of your severe medical conditions. Even though every judge is different, all of the questions revolve around whether or not you can work. We will also review your past work and your job skills. We will be ready to argue that your job skills do not transfer to other work.
Prepare yourself to answer questions about your physical and mental health. If you hire us to represent you, then we will give you a list of questions to help you prepare you to be a witness. Additionally, we will review your answers with you. This will help you know that you are ready for your hearing.
It is important for you to understand the judge’s questions. You need to be able to explain your physical and mental conditions. Our job is to work with you so that you can explain your symptoms to the judge. You have to prove why you can’t work. We help you do that. That is why we say we are working as a team.
It takes a team effort to get through this process. Now is the time to ask for help. Don’t go it alone. Ask for help. We offer a free review of your case. Even if we review your case, there is no pressure to become our client. You can call and ask questions. Contact us today. We will help you prove to the SSA that you cannot use your job skills to work. Call us for help to win your SSD benefits.