Increasingly, claimant representatives are asking more questions, filing post-hearing briefs, and becoming more aggressive in Social Security hearings, which are not supposed to be adversarial in nature. Newer vocational experts may become more easily rattled by various lines of questioning. It is all part of the judicial process. Unasked questions cannot be raised later, so claimant reps are trying to establish many things during the hearing. It is a part of their job.
Suggestions for Vocational Experts
1. Be an expert - Have the requisite knowledge, experience, and confidence required.
2. Know your role and appropriate rules and regulations to follow in your setting.
3. Know your data sources, data collection methods, and their limitations.
4. Be aware of a variety of data estimation methods, and the questions that may emerge from your use of labor market data.
5. Use multiple methods to shape your opinion.
6. Have an opinion about specific methods
7. Compare the results of any estimation method to your knowledge and experience of real labor markets.
SkillTRAN has written a variety of articles and prepared documents to help build your knowledge base. It will require some time to comfortably build that knowledge base. You have made an investment in some software to help you in your work. Invest some time in learning how and why it works the way it does. The following articles should be particularly helpful to building a more solid and defensible foundation for your opinions.
Most of these articles can be directly referenced at www.skilltran.com > Support > Documentation. Follow the links within the articles to really explore the resources available to you. Allow some time for this to all sink in and become a part of the fabric of your testimony.
Here are direct links to the most helpful articles:
- Evidence Supporting the use of the DOT vs. O*NET
- But isn't the DOT dead?
- Why SSA Cannot Use O*NET in its present form for Disability Adjudication
- Job Numbers
- SkillTRAN/Vertek Software (OccuBrowse, OASYS, and Job Browser Pro) accepted by SSA as an electronic representation of the DOT per SSR 00-4p
- SkillTRAN Industry Context Methodology (in Job Browser Pro)
- Limiting the DOT occupation to the specific DOT Industry shown with the occupation
- Peer Review
- Reliability / Validity
- Recent Court Decisions
Your confidence will increase as you invest more time in review of all these resources. We encourage your careful study of this information. We welcome your continuing questions about it, too!
One Paragraph Description of the SkillTRAN Methodology:
SkillTRAN gets data from various government resources (Bureau of Census - Current Population Survey and Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Employment Survey (OES) and National Long-term Employment Projections). SkillTRAN has examined each of the 12,761 DOT occupations and related government occupational codes and cross-references to assign one or more NAICS industry codes to each DOT to indicate which NAICS industries are the most likely industries for that DOT to be employed. Job Browser Pro and OASYS Web show only the NAICS industries relevant for a specific DOT, retrieving only the relevant, related employment data. The estimation method then acts like a spreadsheet template to perform appropriate simple calculations based on the selected DOT occupation. The template is immediately responsive to user input for National, State, Sub-State, Full-Time and/or Part-Time employment estimates. The template retrieves, calculates and sums the values to prepare a DOT-specific estimate of employment numbers. It is only at the industry level of employment of an occupation that an equal distribution calculation is made. This industry-level approach provides substantial differentiation between DOT occupations in the same SOC group.