From the testimony of Bea Disman, Acting Chief of Staff, Social Security Administration, to the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee:
... To ensure our decisions remain accurate, we are developing a new Occupational Information System (OIS) that will be the primary source of occupational information used in our disability adjudication process. We are working closely with the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and will have our first complete set of occupational data in 2019 after BLS completes its third year of data collection. We plan to implement the OIS in 2020 with the introduction of a Vocational Information Tool that adjudicators will use to decide claims. Working with us, BLS will immediately begin a new data collection cycle that will allow us to update the OIS at regular five-year intervals.
Parallel to our efforts to develop the OIS, we are working on updating our Medical-Vocational Guidelines, which were issued in 1978. At step five of our sequential evaluation process, we evaluate an individual’s ability to adjust to other work that exists in the national economy. The Medical-Vocational Guidelines are a crosswalk used by adjudicators when considering an individual’s RFC in relation to age, education, work experience, and work that exists in the national economy. We are currently considering potential evidence-based approaches to updating these guidelines to ensure we remain current with changes in medical and vocational practice, technology, and the workforce. We are closely coordinating any potential changes to how we consider vocational efforts with our development of the OIS....Here are some questions I'd like asked of Ms. Disman:
- There have been endless, unexplained delays in developing the OIS. Why?
- Is Social Security allowing BLS to collect the data and see what it shows or is Social Security pressuring BLS to massage the data so that it meets pre-determined goals set by Social Security?
- What would an "evidence-based" approach to updating the Medical-Vocational guidelines look like?