When Impairments Cause a Change in Occupation

by Alexander Strand and Brad Trenkamp
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 4, 2015

Text description for Chart 1.
SSA's sequential disability determination process

Chart 1 shows the five steps of the sequential disability determination process for adults that are described in the text. The steps are shown as rectangles and the outcomes follow the arrows. Step 1 (financial eligibility) is shown at the top of the page and the outcomes at this step include claim denial or further processing. Step 2 (severe impairment) is shown next and the outcomes here are also claim denial or further processing. At step 3 (meets or equals medical listings), a claim may be allowed or have further processing. The claim may proceed directly to step 4 (capacity for past work) or have expedited processing to step 5 (capacity for any work), known as expedited vocational assessment. At both steps 4 and expedited step 5, a claim may be denied but not allowed. Finally, at step 5, a claim may be allowed or denied. Altogether, the chart shows that there are five points along the sequential determination process at which a claim can be denied, but only two points at which it can be allowed. Denial outcomes are shown in red and allowance outcomes in green.

Table equivalent for Chart 3. Employment rates among denied DI claimants with own-occupation impairments, by deciles of the population earnings distribution and selected years before and after the determination
Time (years) Decile
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
-7 66.67 90.20 93.92 93.87 96.81 99.49 99.73 99.93 99.80 100.00
-6 67.34 90.14 93.37 93.99 97.96 99.14 99.39 99.57 99.93 100.00
-5 67.63 88.92 91.71 92.78 96.98 98.23 98.51 98.71 99.12 99.52
-4 66.06 84.99 88.59 89.82 92.81 95.09 95.60 96.41 97.76 98.72
-3 61.10 80.15 83.85 84.96 87.27 90.39 91.26 92.90 93.83 95.36
-2 55.16 72.72 77.30 78.57 82.67 84.42 84.82 87.52 89.08 88.48
-1 45.44 61.25 65.02 66.58 69.56 71.22 72.49 75.04 79.05 76.48
0 37.16 50.23 53.95 55.65 57.39 60.75 61.99 62.63 66.17 65.76
1 46.41 61.12 64.37 64.74 68.24 67.83 69.04 67.79 68.95 68.96
2 50.04 66.33 69.80 71.34 74.24 73.29 73.31 73.10 72.27 69.12
3 48.55 66.26 69.55 70.82 74.84 74.25 73.99 73.96 73.32 67.85
4 43.65 61.08 65.17 66.88 69.85 71.00 70.37 70.41 70.66 66.67
5 41.89 59.35 63.43 64.36 67.92 69.44 69.05 68.60 68.75 65.85
6 40.31 57.73 62.55 63.95 66.93 69.02 67.27 67.46 68.59 63.01
SOURCES: Disability Operational Data Store and Detailed Earnings Record.
NOTES: Employment is defined as annual earnings greater than $1,000.
DI = Disability Insurance.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Median earnings among denied DI claimants with own-occupation impairments, by selected deciles of the population earnings distribution and selected years before and after the determination
Time Decile
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
-7 8,379 14,411 19,580 22,947 27,670 33,088 40,118 48,151 60,567 84,922
-6 8,852 15,167 20,568 24,059 28,396 33,961 40,761 49,431 61,441 88,238
-5 9,943 15,991 20,636 24,358 28,609 34,516 41,005 49,870 62,740 87,123
-4 10,667 15,919 20,369 23,329 26,818 33,021 39,040 47,698 59,450 84,744
-3 10,832 15,197 19,402 22,158 25,487 31,900 36,220 46,652 57,734 81,840
-2 9,542 13,393 17,062 18,323 21,912 27,489 32,340 43,341 53,730 75,618
-1 6,630 8,620 11,047 12,035 13,785 17,004 19,810 28,015 33,901 49,685
0
1 8,918 11,053 12,307 13,468 13,902 17,313 19,716 23,359 27,940 33,953
2 11,450 14,071 15,774 16,982 18,016 21,344 24,975 28,823 35,330 42,883
3 12,700 14,933 17,199 18,427 19,154 23,433 26,742 30,653 34,882 45,374
4 12,997 14,813 17,004 17,606 19,017 23,302 26,554 29,130 34,239 47,263
5 13,081 14,554 16,905 18,111 19,541 23,613 26,095 29,095 32,468 45,016
6 12,682 14,652 16,797 18,401 19,215 22,811 25,210 29,603 33,120 44,902
SOURCES: Disability Operational Data Store and Detailed Earnings Record.
NOTES: Median earnings by decile conditional on positive earnings.
DI = Disability Insurance.