NATIONAL DISABILITY FORUM: FALL 2015
National Disability Forum
The Realities of Work for Individuals with Disabilities :
Impact of Age, Education, and Work Experience
A Forum for All Interested Disability Stakeholders
We are hosting a National Disability Forum on the topic of how we should modernize our vocational rules which were first published in 1978. These rules are used by disability decision makers millions of times each year to decide whether an individual with a severe impairment can do any job in the national economy as required by our Statute.
Friday, November 20, 2015
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST
National Education Association
Does age, educational level, skill level of past work, or some other factor (or combination of factors) affect an individual’s ability to work or to adjust to other work in today’s economy? If so, how?
We use a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine whether an adult is disabled under the Act. The vocational factors of age, education, and work experience are relevant at step 5 when we consider a claimant's capacity to adjust to other work. Specifically, at step 5 we consider whether a claimant's impairment(s) prevents him or her from doing any other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, considering his or her residual functional capacity (RFC) and the vocational factors of age, education, and work experience. If we find that the claimant does not have the capacity to adjust to other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, we find the claimant disabled. If we find that the claimant has the capacity to adjust to other work, we find the claimant not disabled. We do not consider an individual’s ability to obtain work. To help make our step-5 determination, we use both the medical-vocational profiles (the profiles) and the medical-vocational guidelines (the guidelines) when appropriate. The profiles and the guidelines are based on several assumptions :
- We consider aging to be a limiting factor in a person's ability to adjust to other work.
- We consider higher levels of education and certain types of recent education to enhance a person’s ability to adjust to other work.
- We consider that an individual who has done skilled or semi-skilled work may have acquired skills and abilities from that past work. Those acquired skills and abilities may be transferable to other work. Under our rules, unskilled work does not convey transferable skills to an individual.
We are soliciting public comments in response to an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SSA_FRDOC_0001-0799 along with supporting research and data about how vocational factors such as age, education, and work experience affect an individual's ability to adjust to other work that exists in the national economy.
The Idea Scale response links below are disabled so that your comments can be part of the public record in response to the ANPRM – please link to the ANRPM site to make comments at
Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process ANPRM