BLS/SSA Joint Initiative * Occupational Requirements Survey

Report
BLS/SSA Joint Initiative –
Occupational Requirements
Survey
Chuck Eberle
Assistant Regional Commissioner
Atlanta Division of Compensation
Carolina Payroll Conference
November 6, 2014
Objectives of the Presentation
Who is impacted by the current process?
 SSA’s Disability Process
 SSA’s 5 step sequential evaluation in determining
claimants qualification for disability benefits.
 How did BLS get Involved?
 Why is BLS considered the appropriate agency to
collect this information?
 What has BLS done so far?
 What are BLS’ future plans?
 What are the expected outcomes?

2
Who is impacted by the current
process?
In an obscure corner of the federal bureaucracy, there is an office that is
990,399 cases behind.
That is Washington’s backlog of backlogs — a queue of waiting Americans
larger than the populations of six different states. It is bigger even than
the infamous backups at Veterans Affairs, where 526,000 people are
waiting in line, and the patent office, where 606,000 applications are
pending.
All of these people are waiting on a single office at the
Social Security Administration.
Source:
WashingtonPost.com
Written by David A. Fahrenthold
Published on October 18, 2014
3
Some Statistics:
Current Population of the United States: 319,165,869
Current number of employees working in US: 157,627,118
Percentage of US/citizens working: 49.39%
Current Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Number of people waiting for their disability cases to be heard by
SSA: 990,399
Percentage of disability cases to working Americans: .006 or 6
tenths of 1% of workers.
4
SSA’S DISABILITY PROCESS
SSA’S 5 STEP SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION
Sequential Evaluation Process
Adults
1. SGA? NO − Go to 2.
2. Severe? YES − Go to 3.
3. Meets/equals listing?
YES − Disabled
YES − Not disabled
NO − Not disabled
NO −−−RFC Assessment
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4. PRW? NO − Go to 5.
YES - Not disabled
5. Other work?
YES − Not disabled
NO − Disabled either way: 20 CFR 04.1520/416.920
6
Step 1: Is the individual working
above SGA level?
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At the first step, we consider an individual’s work
activity, if any.
SGA stands for Substantial Gainful Activity and the
amount changes each year. For 2014 it is
$1070/month for the non-blind and $1800 for the
blind.
If an individual is working and his or her earnings
average more than the SGA limit a month, then he or
she is found not disabled.
If an individual is not working or his or her earnings
are less than SGA, the adjudicator goes to step two.
7
Step 2: Is the individual’s physical and/or
mental condition severe?

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At the second step, we consider the medical severity of an
individual’s impairment(s).
An individual must have a medically determinable physical
or mental impairment (or a combination of impairments)
that is severe and meets the duration requirement.
To be severe an impairment or impairments must interfere
with basic work-related activities.
To meet the duration requirement the impairment(s) must
be expected to last twelve months or to result in death
If the impairment(s) are not severe or do not meet the
duration requirement, the individual is found not disabled.
If the impairment(s) are severe and meet the duration
requirement, the adjudicator goes to question three.
8
Step 3: Does the individual’s medical condition
meet or equal the severity of a Listing?
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At the third step, we also consider the medical severity of an
individual’s impairment(s).
SSA maintains a listing of medical criteria that are considered to be so
severe that an individual is found to be disabled if his or her medically
determinable physical or mental impairment(s) matches them.
An individual’s impairment(s) can be found to meet the listed criteria
exactly or to be of equal severity.
If an individual has an impairment that meets or equals one of the
listings and meets the duration requirement, he or she is found to be
disabled.
If an individual does not have an impairment that meets or equals one
of the listings or the duration requirement is not met, the adjudicator
goes to Step 4.
However, before going from step three to step four, the individual’s
residual functional capacity (RFC) is assessed. This RFC
assessment is then used at both step four and step five.
9
Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

For the physical RFC (PRFC) an individual’s medical
condition is evaluated in terms of the physical
demands of work used in the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (DOT) and Selected
Characteristics of Occupations (SCO). Both last
revised in 1991.


Mental RFC (MRFC) is evaluated in terms of the
mental demands of work set out in the Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR).
The sole purpose of assessing RFC is to
determine an individual’s ability to work at
steps 4 and 5.
10
Step 4: Can the individual do any of
his/her Past Relevant Work?
At step 4 a function-by-function comparison
of the individual’s RFC and past relevant work
(PRW) is completed.
 If an individual retains the physical and
mental capacity to perform any PRW, he/she
Is found not disabled.
 If no PRW can be done, or the individual has
no relevant work, the adjudicator goes to
step five.

11
STEP 4 HAS TWO PARTS

Does the individual retain the capacity
to perform PRW as he or she actually
performed it?

Does the individual retain the capacity
to perform PRW as generally performed
in the national economy?
12
Step 5 the “burden of proof”
At step 5 the “burden of proof” shifts to SSA
to show that work, other than what the
individual performed in the past, exists in
significant numbers in the national
economy that he or she can make an
adjustment to, considering the limiting effects
of the individual's impairment, age, education,
and work experience.
13
THE DISABILTY PROCESS

Currently, we base medical-vocational decisions at steps four and five
on the occupational information found in the Department of Labor’s
(DOL) Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and its companion
volume, the Selected Characteristics of Occupations (SCO).

Although DOL did not design the DOT for SSA’s use, they adapted their
disability program to it by incorporating many of its concepts and
definitions into their regulations and policies.

DOL stopped updating the DOT in 1991 and replaced it with the
Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which was designed for
training and career exploration.

O*NET’s definitions of some occupational measures do not conform to
requirements in SSA’s regulations, and they are not able to use O*NET
in its current format in their disability adjudication process.
14
THE DISABILTY PROCESS – cont.

More than half of the decisions SSA
makes at the initial level, and over
80 percent at the hearing level, are
medical-vocational decisions that
require current occupational
information about work that exists in
the national economy. Thus, we face
the critical challenge to develop or
adapt an OIS that can replace the DOT.
15
HOW DID BLS GET
INVOLVED?
16
Advisory Panel Established
In August of 2008, SSA assembled a project team to develop
the Occupational Information System (OIS), and in
December 2008, SSA established the Occupational
Information Development Advisory Panel (the Panel), in
accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
During the first three years of OIS development, our project
staff performed research to identify our specific disability
program needs for an OIS.
The charter for the Panel expired on July 6, 2012.
17
Although the panel recommended that
SSA develop a new OIS tailored
specifically for their disability program
needs, congress expressed concern over
the projected cost of the project and
suggested that SSA work with DOL to
develop the updated occupational
information needed.
18
SSA & BLS
Interagency Agreement
In July 2012, we signed an interagency agreement with
the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to test occupational
data collection methods that could lead to the
development of a new Occupational Information System
(OIS).
The new OIS will replace the outdated Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (DOT) in our disability determination
process.
In fiscal year 2013, BLS began testing the feasibility of
using the National Compensation Survey (NCS) platform
as a means to gather the occupational data we need for
our OIS.
WHY IS BLS CONSIDERED THE
APPROPRIATE AGENCY TO COLLECT
THIS INFORMATION?
20
National Compensation Surveys
Employment Cost Index collects:
1) Occupations are selected using Probability Sampling of
Occupations (PSO)
2) Job descriptions to code each position using the Standard
Occupational Classification (SOC) handbook.
3) All occupations are leveled using a point-factor method to
determine its work level based on related duties and
responsibilities.
4) Four factors—knowledge, job controls and complexity,
contacts (nature and purpose), and physical
environment.
21
ORS Design Goals vs. NCS
Design Goals
ORS Design Goals
NCS Design Goals
Specific
Occs
Occupational
Groups
SSA
Fav.
List
ORS!
Worker
Levels
Industry
Detail
Large Area
Estimation
NCS!
Lots of
Estimates
22
Specifically, BLS will collect:
An indicator of "time to proficiency," defined as the
amount of time required by the typical worker to learn the
techniques, acquire the information, and develop the
facility needed for average job performance, comparable
to the Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) used in the
DOT.
 Physical Demand (PD) characteristics/factors of
occupations measured in such a way to support SSA
disability program needs, comparable to measures in
Appendix C Physical Demands of the SCO.
 Environmental conditions that replicate as closely as
possible those listed in Appendix D Environmental
Conditions of the SCO, or specific revisions or additions to
these factors as agreed upon by SSA and BLS.
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
Comparison of NCS and ORS
NCS
ORS
Sample Size
11,400
~ 30,000
Geographic Detail
National and 15 largest
metropolitan areas
National
Occupational Detail
Major groups
Detailed SOC – 8-digit if
possible
Estimates
Index, Level, Percentiles Percent of workers with
an ORS characteristic,
mean, percentiles
Focus
Cost of Labor
Characteristics of work
Scope
Occupations within
establishments
Occupations within
establishments
Data provider
HR department,
managers
HR department,
managers
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WHAT HAS BLS DONE SO
FAR?
25
FY 2013 -- TESTING
In FY 2013, BLS & the OIS team
conducted a three-phase field test to
evaluate survey design options; begin
developing collection protocols and aids;
collect data to test, refine the protocols
and aids; and assess initial feasibility of
using the NCS as a platform to collect the
information SSA needs for the OIS.
26
FY 2013 -- Phase 1

Phase 1 - Initial Proof of Concept Testing: The BLS
created and tested an initial set of data collection
protocols and collection aids to assess the feasibility
of using NCS field economists to describe the survey
to respondents and collect occupational information
suitable for our needs. BLS conducted testing for this
phase in the Washington, D.C. area from November
28, 2012 through December 6, 2012. BLS staff
completed interviews with 27 establishments,
collecting detailed information on our data elements
for 104 occupations.
27
FY 2013 -- Phase 2

Phase 2 - Collection Protocol Testing: The BLS
continued to refine the collection protocols and
aids and tested collection of the new data
elements while performing a selection of
occupations from each respondent. BLS
conducted testing in the Indianapolis, IN and
Portland OR/Vancouver WA metropolitan areas
from January 28, 2013 through March 21, 2013.
BLS field economists completed 227 interviews
representing 240 establishments, collecting
detailed job information for 1,094 occupations.
28
FY 2013 -- Phase 3

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Phase 3 - Broad-Scale Testing: The BLS expanded the data
collection to six cities and tested its ability to select a sample of
occupations within each establishment, collect the new data
elements that we need, and collect other NCS data elements
that are of research interest to us, such as wages and jobleveling information.
A second objective of Phase 3 testing was to assess the
feasibility of collecting the data we need in addition to all of the
NCS data elements needed to produce the Employment Cost
Index, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, and various
benefits products. At the conclusion of the testing period, BLS
completed 667 interviews across all test cities, collecting
information from 690 establishments and 3,259 occupations.
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WHAT ARE BLS’ FUTURE
PLANS?
30
FY 2014 Testing Plans

Testing will continue throughout FY 2014 with
the primary goal of improving data quality
while minimizing the burden on
respondents.

In FY 2014, BLS will work to resolve any
outstanding issues from FY 2013 testing, and
test the collection of data elements that
describe the mental and cognitive demands
of work.
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2014 TESTS CONDUCTED
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Centralized collected units
Joint Collection 1
ORS only – Efficiency
Joint Collection 2
Alternative Modes
Pre-Production Test
(CURRENTLY being COLLECTED October 2014 –
March 2015)
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FY 2014 Testing Plans
In mid-2014, the BLS will begin a preproduction test that will involve
collecting data from a nationwide
sample of 2,500 establishments.
 BLS will design this pre-production test
to mirror as closely as possible the
survey production environment. The
pre-production test is set to conclude in
FY 2015.

33
Tech Memo Highlights –
Schedule Types
 ORS Only initiations
– both government and private
industry units
 NCS-ORS Update units
– both government and private
industry units
 NCS-ORS initiation units
– no government units
Tech Memo Highlights –
Collection Priorities
NCS-ORS Overlaps
ORS Only initiations
1.
2.
3.
4.
Wages
Benefits (in NCS
priority)
Job Tasks/NCS
Leveling
ORS Elements
(in ORS priority)
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1. Task Lists
2. SVP
3. Cognitive
4. Time spent sitting vs. standing and sit/stand at will
5. Lifting/carrying
6. Pushing/pulling: hand/arm and foot/leg
7. Reaching
8. Keyboarding
9. Manipulation: gross, fine, and foot/leg controls
10. Postural: stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, climb
11. Driving
12. Vision: near visual acuity, far visual acuity,
peripheral
13. Communicative: communicating verbally, hearing
requirements
14. Environmental conditions
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED
OUTCOMES?
36
BLS testing of the Occupational
Requirements Survey includes:
1. Evaluating whether the National Compensation
Survey (NCS) can produce estimates of sufficient
quantity and quality to meets the needs of the SSA;
2. Determining survey design options and developing
processes, protocols, aids, and collection procedures to
meet SSA data needs; and
3. Providing documentation to the SSA summarizing the
work performed by the BLS, conclusions drawn, and
recommendations for future data collection, testing, and
research.
WHO IS INTERESTED IN ORS
RESULTS OTHER THAN SSA
AND BLS?
38
Sample of Organizations Interested in
ORS Results

National Association of Disability Examiners - NADE
 NADE is a professional organization whose mission is to advance the art and
science of disability evaluation.

International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals - IARP
 IARP is the only organization focused on and committed to comprehensively
serving the professional private rehabilitation industry.

National Organization of Social Security Claimants'
Representatives - NOSSCR
 As a membership organization, NOSSCR is committed to providing the
highest quality representation and advocacy on behalf of persons who are
seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental
Security Income.
39
Sample of Organizations Interested in
ORS Results

National Association of Disability Representatives - NADR
 In March of 2000, 35 Professional Social Security Claimants Representatives
met in St. Louis, MO and formed NADR, Inc. They chose their name and
established the following goals:
–
–

1. Conduct Annual Conventions open to members and non-members with
educational seminars to keep practitioners up to date on Social Security rulings,
regulatory changes and practice improvements.
2. Create a free national referral service for claimants seeking representation and
information about Social Security Disability, Continuing Disability Reviews and
over payment and underpayment problems.
Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)
 APSE is the only national organization with an exclusive focus on integrated
employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with
disabilities.
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Sample of Organizations Interested in
ORS Results

American Board of Vocational Experts - ABVE
 The American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE) is a professional
credentialing body established as a not-for-profit organization.
– The certified vocational expert is expected to keep abreast of the effects of
personal injury on earning capacity, labor market changes, hiring practices, and
knowledge of occupational requirements, as well as the growth and decline
patterns in local labor markets.
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Contact Information
Chuck Eberle
Assistant Regional Commissioner
Atlanta Division of Compensation
www.bls.gov/xxx
404-893-1921
[email protected]

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