The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a list of jobs to help determine who can receive benefits, but this list is outdated and often leads to denials for individuals who can work at sit-down jobs.

When applying for Social Security disability benefits, many applicants find that their application is denied despite their inability to return to any previous jobs. The reason for this is that Step Five—the final step in the evaluation process that determines whether applicants can continue working—could find that the applicant is capable of performing unskilled, sedentary work in various sit-down jobs in the U.S.

Sit-Down Job Possibilities When Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Following a denial of an applicant’s disability claim during Step Five, the SSA will notify the applicant whether he or she will be able to continue working at an unskilled job in positions such as “telephone quotation clerk” or “surveillance system monitor.” The problem with many of these jobs is that they are no longer in existence, as general technological developments, automation, and modern computer systems have rendered them obsolete.

Social Security maintains a compendium of occupations like these in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), which contains many outdated listings. In fact, a majority of the jobs listed in the DOT haven’t been updated in over 20 years, while some entries, such as Telegraph-Service Rater, haven’t been relevant in over 40 years.

What to Do About Proposed Jobs in a Disability Claim

During a disability hearing, an Administrative Law Judge may request a Vocational Expert to discuss possible jobs that the applicant could perform based on the listings in the DOT. An experienced Social Security disability attorney can contest the proposed jobs and discuss the flaws present in the listings or ask about other jobs that are available to the applicant.

An attorney can also help collect evidence that the applicant is unable to perform even unskilled, sedentary work, which could prevent denial during Step Five in the evaluation process.

Some of the physical limitations that may affect an individual’s ability to work even an unskilled, sedentary position may include:

  • inability to bend, crouch, or stoop
  • inability to sit for periods of six to eight hours
  • needs to recline or lie down throughout the day
  • needs to elevate legs while sitting
  • severely limited use of dominant hand

Individuals with mental and psychiatric disabilities or illnesses may also be unable to perform most jobs.

Regardless of whether an applicant is capable of working unskilled, sedentary jobs according to the SSA’s listings, it’s important to speak with an attorney. He or she will be able to work to avoid denial during Step Five or contest the Vocational Expert’s analysis in a hearing.