Social Security Announces Significant Change in Disability Benefits – Impact on Beneficiaries Explained

Amelia Ross
5 Min Read

For a long time, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has used an old list of jobs to decide if disabled people can get benefits. This week, a big change happened. The SSA will update this list for the first time in almost 50 years, removing 114 outdated jobs like “nut sorter” and “pneumatic tube operator.” Let’s explore what this means and why it’s important.

Celebrating Disability Pride

What is Disability Pride Month?

July is Disability Pride Month in the US. It’s a time to celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed over 30 years ago. According to the US Census Bureau, there are about 42.5 million Americans with disabilities. This group includes people with challenges in walking, hearing, vision, cognitive functions, self-care, or independent living.


The SSA’s Mission

How the SSA Helps

The SSA was founded in 1935 to help retired workers, survivors, disabled people, and low-income seniors. Through its Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, it provides monthly payments to millions of disabled Americans who can’t work or support themselves because of their disabilities.

Outdated Occupations List

What Was Wrong with the Old List?

The SSA used the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) list to decide if someone could still work. This list had many old jobs that don’t exist anymore. For example, jobs like “barrel assembler” and “reptile farmer” were used to deny benefits, saying the person could still do those jobs. The SSA is now removing 114 such jobs from the list.


New Evidentiary Criteria

The SSA will use better evidence to decide if someone can work. The Department of Labor made the old list, but it was outdated. Now, the SSA wants to only consider relevant jobs when deciding if someone can work in other fields.

A Forward-Thinking Approach

What Does the SSA Say?

The SSA says its disability process is good, but it can be better. They want to make it easier for people to use and keep their disability programs up-to-date. Martin O’Malley, the commissioner of Social Security, said, “It makes sense to select professions that are now in extremely small supply within the American economy. Our decision-makers will no longer use these jobs as justification for rejecting disability applications as a result of this change.”


Community Reactions

How Do People Feel About This Change?

Many people, especially disabled Americans, are happy about this change. They felt the old system didn’t help them. Some worry that it might take time to undo the damage caused by the old system, but this change is a step in the right direction.

The SSA’s update to its job database is a significant and necessary change. It reflects a more accurate picture of the modern job market and better serves the needs of disabled Americans. This modernization aims to make it easier for new applicants to qualify for disability benefits, improving the lives of millions of people.



1. What is Disability Pride Month?
Disability Pride Month, celebrated in July, honors the Americans with Disabilities Act and raises awareness about the 42.5 million Americans with disabilities.

2. What changes is the SSA making to its job list?
The SSA is removing 114 outdated jobs from its list used to determine if a disabled person can work, making it easier for them to qualify for benefits.


3. Why is the SSA updating its job list?
The SSA is updating its list to reflect modern jobs and ensure that disability benefit decisions are based on relevant and current occupations.

4. How will the new evidentiary criteria work?
The SSA will use better evidence to assess if a person can work in other fields, ensuring that the process is fair and up-to-date.


5. What impact will this change have on disabled Americans?
This change is expected to make it easier for disabled Americans to qualify for SSDI benefits, better reflecting their abilities and the current job market.


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A tax law expert with a knack for breaking down complex regulations into digestible insights. Amelia's articles on the tax news blog offer invaluable guidance to readers navigating changes in tax legislation.
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