Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT)

Anyone who may be permanently and totally disabled or Social Security disabled may want to know about the federal publication called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. This is an outdated (1991)but important resource when trying to ascertain how disabled a person might be. In SS cases it is extensively used and often relied on by Judges. In WC cases it is important but not quite as much as in SS cases. Still the job description and physical/skill demands of a job are quite important in all cases where employability is an issue. Each law defines unemployability differently but both make the concept of unemployability a key factor in determining total disability. In both areas jobs such as ticket taker, receptionist, customer service, telephone sales, hotel clerk, dispatcher, driver, assembler have detailed job requirements including physical, educational and skill levels. Each occupation receives a code number and a small paragraph describing it. Vocational experts use this information to assist in analyzing possible jobs for a claimant. They do much more but this old publication remains the bible in the field. The Social Security Administration goes further with its rules in analyzing how age, education and other limitations play into work ability but in Colorado workers comp we tend to rely on the experts to provide opinions rather then any further rules. The Social Security Administration realizes those over 50 have a harder time adjusting and there are rules in this area. In Colorado workers comp being over 50 is not going to stop someone from saying you can work in low paying or unskilled jobs. So if you want to check into occupations and what is required for that job you might take a look at the DOT Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

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