Fresno disability attorneys will tell you that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Social Security Act are not the same when it comes to disabilities. A memorandum from the Associate Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to staff and judges pointed out that the disability provisions of the Social Security Act and those of the American with Disabilities Act are assumed to have different purposes, and do not apply to one another. For instance, “disability” is defined in the ADA as it indicates an inability to perform “major life activities,” which is not synonymous with the term as it is defined in the Social Security Act.
DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles)
There are 12,741 brief descriptions of occupations listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. A close link exists between the Social Security regulations and the DOT. The definitions of exertional and skill levels in the regulations are provided in the DOT, and the grids, the individual charts derived from the exertional levels listed in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, are built on the numbers of DOT occupational titles that are unskilled at each level of exertion.
Vocational experts are assumed and expected to be well informed and knowledgeable with the DOT. Your Fresno disability attorney knows that the Social Security Administration (SSA) depends on the DOT even though the DOT was last revised in 1991 and is out of date. The Department of Labor has decided to stop revising the DOT and is instead replacing it with O*Net, which unfortunately, has almost no information that is beneficial for determining disability using the current sequential evaluation process.
Decision-makers have been told by the SSA that they are not to rely on the O*Net when making disability decisions.
Additionally, an SSA regulation states that should a conflict arise between the DOT and vocational expert testimony, the ALJ must have a reasonable explanation and present an account of how the conflict was resolved in the decision.
If you have questions you would like to ask a competent and knowledgeable Fresno disability attorney about your Social Security disability case, please contact us.