POMS Reference

DI: Disability Insurance

BASIC (02-15)


Social Security Act, as amended §§ 216(i), 223(d)(2)(A), and 1614(a)(3)(B)

20 CFR Part 404 Subpart P, Appendix 2

20 CFR §§ 404.1566 thru 404.1569, and 416.966 thru 416.969

SSR 00-04p

A. Disability Determination Services (DDS) authority and responsibility

The DDS administrator shall select an adequate number of vocational specialists (VS) to meet the State’s needs. The DDS administrator has the authority and flexibility to design a quality assurance function best suited to the needs of the agency and assigns roles accordingly.

See also:

DI 30001.010 Disability Determination Services (DDS) Quality Assurance (QA) Authority and Responsibilities.

B. DDS VS qualifications

Each office shall maintain appropriate records of VS training.

The DDS administrator selects experienced personnel to complete and maintain the VS training. Minimum qualifications for a VS are:

  • Knowledge of the Social Security disability programs, particularly vocational issues at Steps 4 and 5 of sequential evaluation; and

  • Completion of the SSA sponsored VS training within the last 5 years.

NOTE: DDS administrators determine if any additional experience is necessary.

C. SSA VS training modules

In October 2010, SSA discontinued classroom VS training. VS training now consists of a series of video-on-demand (VOD) training modules. Personnel may complete the modules in a classroom setting, or individually. The DDS administrator and training staff determine which method. Total running time for the complete VOD training is approximately 7 hours. VS training modules and the required confirmation sheet are on the Vocational Specialist Training at the Desktop website.

D. Other vocational training materials

Additional vocational training materials are located at the Office of Disability Policy website.

E. VS Training confirmation

The DDS will confirm successful completion of the VS training that is valid for 5 years. After 5 years, the VS must complete the training to maintain confirmation as an VS.

NOTE: DDS administrators and training cadre may confirm VS designated personnel who completed SSA classroom training within the last 5 years as VSs through October 2015.