In previous posts, we’ve already seen the various levels and sources of friction that the SSAVE must deal with to get the best input as an impartial witness. Reliable information can alleviate this friction for the SSAVE and set them on the best path to growing excellence and dependability during their input into the Five Step process.
These sources, seen in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (for now), the Handbook for Analyzing Jobs, and various SSA decisions, present a backdrop of dependable information the SSAVE can rely upon to give proper impartial testimony at all times. Each provides a wealth of reliable information (the DOT to a point…) that is factual and passes reliability tests such as requirements under the Dauber decision (link).
But which one is right? Who decides? At the end of the day the SSAVE input enables the ALJ to decide. Old school SSAVEs and Vocational Employment experts can argue with DOT and BLS data enthusiast until they are blue in the face…but the SSAVE relies upon the data they have access to and the ALJ renders a decision based on facts and regulatory requirements, including all medical and claimant information combined with expert witness testimony.
This is all under a time limit. Picture the line at the DMV…you go to get your car tags and 5 hours later walk out…hopefully with those with car tags! Now picture yourself as a claimant, clearing your day to go to court, sitting around all day, then not even leaving with the experience of having presented your case behind you. The docket for each ALJ is enforced to prevent this from happening. Each hearing goes through the same sequence, albeit with different players and levels of information, but still completes in a minimal amount of time
This means the SSAVE is driven to speed to answer the hypothetical questions placed before them. They rely on the information gathered in pre-hearing work studies, but still have to apply that information in a rapid manner to determine if future work is in the cards. Which then is more important…Speed or precision? That’s where government and commercial entities begin to collide.