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Disability Specialist I - 566746

Austin, TX

** This position may be eligible for a hybrid remote telework schedule if requirements are met and based on the agency's business needs.

The Disability Specialist I adjudicates Social Security Administration (SSA) adult and childhood disability cases. Researches and verifies DDS jurisdiction to process incoming cases; returns to SSA any cases DDS is proscribed from processing. Solicits medical evidence of record (MER), activities of daily living (ADL) information, detailed descriptions of past relevant work (PRW), education records and teacher evaluations on child claimants, and other information required to evaluate disability and properly document the case file. Applies the SSA Sequential Evaluation (SE) process to determine whether a claimant is disabled. Orders Consultative Examinations (CEs) to investigate undocumented claimant allegations and/or clarify medical evidence. Prepares a detailed analysis of the cumulative effect of all medically determined physical and mental impairments on: residual functional capacity (RFC) for adults; ability to function at an age-appropriate level in six developmental domains for children. Assesses the cumulative impact of developmental deficits to determine disability in childhood cases. Develops complete claimant vocational profiles for adults. Determines adult disability by assessing a claimant’s potential ability to work based on a complex analysis of: vocational profiles; RFC limitations; PRW performance criteria as described by the claimant and by standard occupation references; results from research of national economy job references. Creates forms, letters and supporting materials required to document disability decisions. Identifies and reports for investigation cases involving potential fraud. Works under moderate supervision with limited latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.

This position occasionally requires work during the weekends, holidays, and before or after normal business hours. DDS employees perform all business functions for SSA, using the federal SSA network and equipment.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 security clearance is required.

Essential Job Functions:

Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned.

Develops adult physical/mental RFC and childhood developmental assessments to: document diagnoses/objective evidence, including signs, symptoms, and lab/test results for all alleged disabling impairments; assess residual capacity to function based on extensive knowledge of physical/mental conditions and disease processes and their effect on functionality; apply witness credibility legal standards to assess claimant or treating physician statements regarding disability in the final decision process. Develops comprehensive vocational profiles for adults, and determines adult medical/vocational eligibility for disability, applying complex SSA vocational standards and evaluative tools to assess a claimant’s potential ability to return to PRW or perform other work.

Determines when available information is sufficient to evaluate impairments alleged by the claimant. Creates all forms, letters, and supporting materials required to properly document the final disability determination. Completes the determination in a timely manner.

Reviews all file documentation upon receipt of disability cases, researching and investigating information that may affect DDS jurisdiction to adjudicate the case. Returns cases that are not DDS jurisdiction to SSA without action for correction or closure. Applies provisions of the Social Security Act, as amended, related Federal and State statutes, regulations, SSA rulings, and pertinent Federal Court rulings to decide whether a claimant is or is not disabled; applies the SSA SE evaluation standard to render decisions as soon as possible.

Establishes standards for customer-focused communication and coordination within areas of responsibility and with all internal and external associates and customers.

Develops cases in a timely manner by contacting medical and non-medical sources for MER relevant to alleged physical/mental impairments. Obtains functional and work history information about claimants in order to evaluate how alleged mental and physical impairments affect their daily lives and ability to work. Orders Consultative Examinations (CE) to clarify evidence and properly document the impairments and the claimant’s current condition.

Provides backup for absent DSs in accordance with established procedures.

Knowledge Skills Abilities:

Knowledge of the provisions of the Social Security Act, as amended, related Federal and State statutes, regulations, Social Security rulings, pertinent court rulings, and the paper and electronic folder disability case processes for adult and childhood disability cases.

Knowledge of medical terminology, physical and mental conditions and impairments, disease processes, the current impact/future implications/prognosis associated with mental and physical diagnoses, signs/symptoms/tests/lab results, and selected treatment modalities, and the potential impact of the impairments on SSA disability eligibility.

Knowledge of pediatric medical terminology, age-appropriate childhood development standards and milestones, the impact of physical/mental impairments and disease processes on childhood development, and the degree of severity of cumulative developmental deficits that is required to be eligible for SSA disability benefits.

Knowledge of legal principles as they apply to the SSA disability program, including: Res Judicata, Collateral Estoppel, Administrative Finality, Evidentiary Findings of Fact, Evidence Admissibility, Fraud and Similar Fault, and Witness Credibility.

Knowledge of non-medical and vocational factors affecting job opportunities and a claimant’s ability to work, including: age; education; skills and abilities; vocational background; occupational categories/classifications; exertional and non-exertional criteria and standards used by the industry to classify all occupations in the national economy.

Knowledge of all Federal and State laws governing confidentiality personal information accessible in Social Security, medical evidence of record, and disability case files.

Skill in documenting and adjudicating SSA disability cases.

Skill in using a Personal Computer and peripherals, Microsoft Suite or equivalent software, and SSA-unique software applications such as the national Query system and the case management and adjudication system.

Skill in making timely and accurate independent decisions.

Skill in adapting to program changes and fluctuating work loads.

Skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships.

Skill in communicating effectively both orally and in writing.

Ability to manage time, organize job related responsibilities, and meet deadlines.

Ability to gather, assemble and evaluate pertinent information for all levels of cases, including appellate cases.

Registration or Licensure Requirements:



Initial Selection Criteria:

1. A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university by September 1, 2023.

2. Must exhibit a stable work history.

Caseload management experience is preferred.

Knowledge of medical terminology is preferred.  

Additional Information:

Applicants may not have a history of substantiated fraudulent activity against HHSC or any programs it administers. Applicants who have a non-fraud overpayment with an outstanding balance must agree to repay the overpayment balance as a condition of employment.

This position occasionally requires work during the weekends, holidays, and before or after normal business hours.

Individuals selected for positions with the Disability Determination Service (DDS) will go through a complete federal background investigation. A suitability determination by the Social Security Administration is necessary to determine whether an employee can be issued credentials in order to have access to Social Security disability data, records, and systems. The job offer is contingent upon a full suitability clearance through SSA.

HHS agencies use E-Verify. You must bring your I-9 documentation with you on your first day of work. I-9 Form - Click here to download the I-9 form.

Consideration will be given to filling additional vacancies that occur during this posting period.

Demonstration of skill will be administered at the time of interview.

Individuals with the same FJD may not apply.

Any employment offer is contingent upon available budgeted funds. The offered salary will be determined in accordance with budgetary limits, follow HHS salary administration policy and guidelines and based on the candidate's qualifications.

This position may be eligible for a hybrid remote telework schedule if requirements are met and based on the agency's business needs.

MOS Code:

Note: There may be no military occupation(s) that relate to the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure requirements for this position. All active duty, reservists, guardsmen, and veterans are encouraged to apply. For more information, see the Texas State Auditor’s Military Crosswalk on HHSC’ Veterans Resources page, State Mandated Requirements.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HHS agencies will provide reasonable accommodation during the hiring and selection process for qualified individuals with a disability. If you need assistance completing the on-line application, contact the HHS Employee Service Center at 1-888-894-4747. If you are contacted for an interview and need accommodation to participate in the interview process, please notify the person scheduling the interview.

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