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What is the Dictionary of Occupational Titles?

At the end of most Social Security Disability hearings a vocational expert will testify. This is a person who has experience placing people in jobs. This person usually has gone to school and has received a degree in rehabilitation or counseling. This person also knows about a publication called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. It is often abbreviated as the DOT.

The DOT is published by the Department of Labor. The DOT, in its physical form, is a large book that lists thousands of jobs and their descriptions. It was originally created in 1938. It has been updated periodically. This is the publication the Social Security Administration has chosen to utilize for job descriptions.

During a hearing, the Vocational Expert will refer to jobs by their DOT number. The DOT number is a 9-digit number that identifies a position. For instance, the position of cashier is titled "Cashier-Checker" and has a DOT number of 211.462-014 in the DOT. There is a description of the typical duties of a cashier and the strength level usually required and skill level.

The first 6 numbers in the DOT represents something specific for the position. The first digit is the category of work, the second is the division of work, the third digit is the group. The second grouping of three numbers categories the worker functions. The fourth digit in the DOT, in the example of the cashier the number is 4, stands for the amount of data required. For cashier the 4 represents computing. The fifth digit describes the interaction with people. For cashier that number is 6. A 6 represents the ability to speak and signal with people at work. And the sixth digit in the DOT describes that amount of interaction the worker has with things. For instance, the number for cashier is 2 and that represents operating and controlling, which is likely the cash register. The last three numbers are unique identifiers.

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