By now if you’ve gone through all the posts here in Stroud Academy, you been able to see that we’ve introduced the concept of the Social Security Administration vocational expert. This includes what it is and what they do. We’ve then brought in the role that they play and their part in the overall disability process, giving you a glimpse of what that process looks like from the perspective of the claimant and the administrative law judge.
Today we continue with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 404. So far we’ve gone through different subparts from introduction to understanding administrative law judge processes all the way through the appeals council. Subpart P continues that process.
First off, subpart P defines the scope and how determining disability and blindness in this sub part is different than the overall introduction of determining disability back in subpart D. Subpart P defines who can make these actual determinations and how the overall program is listed. The reason why we included subpart P in this introduction to the regulations for the Social Security Administration is that the basic definition of disability and understanding what that actually means is a critical term to understand for an SSAVE.
Simple…because this definition of disability is what guides all decisions in the Social Security Administration. Next, subpart P introduces terms that will become near and dear to SSAVEs…such as the meaning of substantial gainful activity (SGA…you’ll see this again!) and then responsibility for evidence overall. You need this because substantial gainful activity is going to help define whether the definition of disability is met or not…or if there are ways around that issue.
The process continues at varying levels through evaluations of those disabilities and how they consider bits of evidence such as medical considerations along with your input as a Social Security Administration VE. The SSAVE takes center stage through inputs into residual functional capacity, which is actually listed as a responsibility in the Social Security Administration in 404.1546, however the court will take the inputs of the SSA VE and evaluate the concept of substantial gainful activity through comparing it with hypothetical situations presented by the administrative law judge.
These hypotheticals are where the role of the SSAVE truly comes into play. Along the way, you will conduct testimony based on the research that you have already done on claimant work history. You’ll then apply various facets of that research, whether age, education, or work experience along with existence of work in the national economy as different vocational factors for consideration. This testimony or input will combine with physical and skill requirements listed and then limitations that are opposed upon you to consider as far as the claimant’s previous work history with exertional and non-exertional limitations. Whew! A lot to combine…but all of this finally goes into what the Social Security Administration means by substantial gainful activity.