Analysis of a Social Security Case
In the analysis of any Social Security case it is important to have a clear understanding of the exertional level of jobs, the skill levels of jobs and the physical demands of jobs.
Exertional Levels and Skill LevelsEvery job in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) is described by the exertional level (sedentary, light, medium and heavy) and the skill level (unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled) as well as the physical demands of each job. A sedentary job is a job where the person sits most of the day but does not lift more than 10 pounds (office worker) and the light (cashier), medium (many construction trade jobs) and heavy jobs (shipfitters) require the person to stand most of the day and be able to lift varying degrees of weight depending on the exertional level.
Physical DemandsThe physical demands of the jobs include (among other qualities) reaching, handling, fingering and feeling and these are described as “never”, “occasionally”, “frequently” and “constant”. The difference in the frequency is determined by the percentage during the day that a person is either reaching, handling, and fingering; up to 1/3 of the day is occasional and between 1/3 and 2/3 is frequently and constant is more than 2/3 of the day. I highlight the physical demands for reaching, handling, and fingering because limitations in these areas are frequently discussed at a SS hearing.