Sunday, March 1, 2020

Ford v. Saul -- What Jobs and How Many?

The Ninth Circuit decided Ford v. Saul on February 20, 2020.  Ford is capable of a limited range of sedentary work.  We consult the District Court decision to fill in some of the gaps.  Ford can perform sedentary work with no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; no climbing of stairs, crouching, crawling, or kneeling; occasional stooping; frequent handling and fingering; avoiding concentrated exposure to extreme cold; understand, remember, and carry out simple and routine tasks; no fast-paced production work; superficial contact with the public; can work in small groups; can interact with co-workers and supervisors to complete tasks.

The Ninth Circuit reports that the vocational expert identified 130,000 jobs as an addresser and 9,800 jobs as ink-printing.  Addresser belongs to the occupatinal group of word processors and typists (SOC 43-9022)..  Ink printer belongs to the occupational group of printing press operators (SOC 51-5112).

Addresser is obsolete.  Addresser is a word processor and typist (SOC 43-9022) occupation.  Word processors and typists contains eight DOT codes.  BLS reported in May 2015 (data that would have been published in 2016 and have been the most current data in the November 2016 hearing) that there were 68,660 word processors and typists in the nation.  The OOH relied on the 2014-24 employment projections as of November 2016, estimating the number of word processors and typists at 90,700.  That would represent the number for the O*NET OnLine as of November 2016.  The two BLS sources (EP and OES) do no support the 130,000 jobs as an addresser in 2016 or even 130,000 jobs in the group of word processors and typists.  The vocational expert lied and the failure to submit available evidence from the BLS allowed the witness to get away with it. 

An “everything report” from OccuCollect gives the data that we need to destroy the testimony.  The O*NET reports that addresser is the only unskilled DOT code.  The O*NET Resource Center reports that 51.54% of word processors and typists have 30 days or less of on-the-job training; 4.05% do not require related work experience of more than 30 days; and 51.57% of jobs require a high school education or less.  SVP is a function of training, work experience, and education.  The SVP can never be lower than the smallest component.  The exception is the exchange of experience or education where those criteria are treated interchangeably as qualifications.  Then the lowest of the two defines the SVP.  For word processors and typists, the requirement for six months to two years of related work experience means that most of the jobs are skilled.  Relatively few (8.12%) of word processors and typists are semi-skilled. 

The O*NET Resource Center does not support the presence of more than 4,500 addresser jobs in the nation in 2016. Current OOH job numbers permit the inference of 3,000 addressers.  Current OES job numbers permit the inference of 2,600 addressers.  The testimony of the vocational expert in Ford, that there were 130,000 addresser jobs, is patently false. 

Ink printer is a printing press operator (SOC 51-5112) occupation.  The ORS component of the  “everything report” from OccuCollect tells us that the OOH describes printing press operators stand/walk five hours per day at the 10th percentile.  Printing press operators engage in unskilled work in 23.8% of jobs.  Printing press operators engage in medium work in 62.7% of jobs and lift up to 25 pounds at the 25th percentile.  That data point tells us that at least 13% of the jobs require heavy or greater exertion (62% above the 25th percentile is 87%).  If there are sedentary printing press operators, they represent less than 10% of the jobs.  The testimony that ink printer represent 9,800 jobs is possible. 

Ford waived the important issues at the hearing level.  The vocational expert gave unreliable testimony.  The court embarrassed itself by allowing junk to decide the entitlement to benefits.  SSA embarrassed itself by defending that kind of testimony.  The public confidence in the system of administrative justice should go down. 



Lawrence Rohlfing, Ford v. Saul -- What Jobs and How Many?, California Social Security Attorney (March 1, 2020) edited (March 2, 2020),

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