Disability Determination Hearing Officer (#MDDZ33)
$54,100.00 Yearly Min / $67,625.00 Yearly Mid / $81,150.00 Yearly Max

Summary Statement

A class incumbent is responsible for conducting reconsideration hearings on all continuing disability review termination appeals, as mandated by federal law.

Nature and Scope

This is an administrative position that functions under the direction of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Deputy Director. A significant aspect of the work involves managing the operation of the disability hearings program and conducting evidentiary hearings to provide due process to beneficiaries who are appealing determinations that would terminate their benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act. In addition, the class incumbent provides assistance to the Deputy Director in the areas of technical training for staff and special studies.

Essential Functions

Essential functions are fundamental, core functions common to all positions in the class series and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class. Since class specifications are descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents can complete job duties of similar kind not specifically listed here.

  • Reviews the entire written case record and researches and consults pertinent regulations, rulings and other reference sources prior to each hearing to identify all issues to be considered at the hearing.
  • Analyzes case record to determine if sufficient evidence exists in file on which to base a decision; returns cases with insufficient documentation back to adjudicator for further development; determines accuracy of decision to terminate benefits and may reverse decision prior to hearing.
  • Conducts hearing with beneficiary and representatives to provide due process; governs the conduct of the parties and regulates the course of the proceedings by administering oaths, ruling on motions, examining evidence and witnesses and resolving conflicting evidence through questioning.
  • Completes a written summary during the course of the hearing to serve as a record of the hearing.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all evidence, prior decisions and testimony in each case at conclusion of each hearing; determines the weight to be given to evidence and judges the severity of impairments and effects of vocational and non-medical factors in relation to ability to work by consulting Social Security laws, rulings, regulations and guidelines.
  • Develops written rationale for the decision of allowance or denial of disability benefit which encompasses all pertinent factors.
  • Supervises the preparation of written notification to the beneficiary and other parties of the decision and informs them of appeal rights.
  • Performs public relations work across the state, as needed, with legal community for the purpose of facilitating, clarifying and enhancing the hearing process.
  • Develops and conducts training programs targeted to the technical training needs of DDS staff.
  • Assists with the overall administration of the DDS program by serving on special committees for the on-going development of policy and procedures and recommending on program changes.
  • May issue subpoenas as authorized by the SSA Regional Commissioner to obtain evidence or testimony for a hearing.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The intent of the listed knowledge, skills and abilities is to give a general indication of the core requirements for all positions in the class series; therefore, the KSA’s listed are not exhaustive or necessarily inclusive of the requirements of every position in the class.

  • Knowledge of the principles, techniques, and procedures of Social Security disability case development and the adjudicative process.
  • Knowledge of Federal laws, regulations, rulings and policies related to eligibility determination under provisions of the Social Security Act.
  • Knowledge of medical requirements, disease processes, medical terminology and technology, clinical findings, examination procedures, and medical specialization.
  • Knowledge of medical evidence of record and methods used in the medical community for documenting all findings and treatment evidence.
  • Knowledge of non-medical evidence such as vocational factors, work history, lay observations and economic patterns affecting an individual's ability to function in a work environment.
  • Knowledge of due process standards, judicial courtesy, and hearing protocol.
  • Ability to learn and apply new concepts, new initiatives, new policies and new procedures that relate to the hearings program.
  • Ability to establish effective working relationships with all DDS units, divisional managers, regional and central office managers of SSA, and representatives in the legal and medical community.
  • Ability to handle sensitive issues that arise during the hearings process that are charged with emotional feelings and may result in irrational behavior.
  • Ability to understand, interpret and apply laws, rulings and procedures in an advisory capacity with claimants and their representatives.
  • Ability to identify and isolate issues contained in extensive and complex material.
  • Ability to manage a complex and complicated workload.
  • Ability to remain objective in handling legal inquiries.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Job Requirements

JOB REQUIREMENTS for Disability Determination Hearing Officer
Applicants must have education, training and/or experience demonstrating competence in each of the following areas:

  1. Three years experience in evaluating disability claims and making disability determinations.
  2. Six months experience in disability adjudication appeal and review process.
  3. Three years experience in interpreting Social Security Administration laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures.
  4. Six months experience in narrative report writing.
  5. Knowledge of quasi judicial proceedings.