Monday, October 2, 2017

Aptitudes and the DOT codes

Appearing at a hearing in Seattle in front of a judge that doesn't know how many bags of tricks I carry with me.  Claimant has manipulative problems, describes herself as clumsy and the medical/therapy records bear out the lack of dexterity.  The ALJ wants to quantify the impairment in terms of occasional and frequent fine and gross manipulation (fingering and handling).  That doesn't cut it for this case because those terms do not qualitatively describe the problem.

The Department of Labor released the Handbook for Analyzing Jobs and accidentally omitted chapter 9 -- aptitudes.  These 36 pages appear in the Revised Handbook for Analyzing Jobs.
Aptitudes, a component of Worker Characteristics, are the capacities or specific abilities which an individual must have in order to learn to perform a given work activity. There are 11 Aptitudes used by USES for job analysis.
The aptitudes are:
G - General Learning Ability
V - Verbal Aptitude
N - Numerical Aptitude
S - Spatial Aptitude
P - Fonn Perception
Q - Clerical Perception
K - Motor Coordination
F - Finger Dexterity
M - Manual Dexterity
E - Eye-Hand-Foot Coordination
C - Color Discrimination
Unlike other rating scales used in the DOT and its companions, the aptitudes use 1 as the highest level of function and 5 as the lowest:
1. The top 10 percent of the population. This segment of the population possesses an extremely high degree of the aptitude.
2. The highest third exclusive of the top 10 percent of the population. This segment of the population possesses an above average or high degree of the aptitude.
3. The middle third of the population. This segment of the population possesses a medium degree of the aptitude ranging from slightly below to slightly above average.
4. The lowest third exclusive of the bottom 10 percent of the population. This segment of the population possesses a below average or low degree of the aptitude.
5. The lowest 10 percent of the population. This segment of the population possesses a negligible degree of the aptitude.
We are concerned about our claimant with a manipulative problem with Finger Dexterity and Manual Dexterity.
F - FINGER DEXTERITY: The ability to move the fingers and manipul. small objects with the fingers rapidly or accurately.
M - MANUAL DEXTERITY: The ability to move the hands easily and skillfully Ability to work with the hands in placing and turning motions.
The RHAJ gives examples of what average (level 3) means for these and other aptitudes.  So please Judge, don't tell me to use vocationally relevant terms in my cross until you have read the statistics and the taxonomy set forth in the RHAJ.  The aptitudes for each occupation -- we find them in every professional regurgitation of the DOT and its companions, i.e. West and SkillTran.  When I ask the vocational expert to assume below average dexterity, I am referring to the use of those rated and defined terms in the RHAJ and the descriptions of each occupation found in West and the various SkillTran products.

Drop the mic ... walk away.

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