skill level increases from learning

Skill Level and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP)

Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) is used to identify a job’s skill level when Social Security examines Past Relevant Work (PRW) and other potential job titles using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).  The SVP of a job title work indicates the skill level required to perform a job, as well as the amount and nature of training required to do so.  Click to view a list of SVP levels by skill and educational requirements, and to read a full explanation of skill level and SVP, consult POMS DI 25001.001, Section 77

Social Security Recognizes Occupational Skill Level in Three Classes:

-Unskilled Work
-Semi-Skilled Work
-Skilled Work

These three skill level descriptors map directly to SVP codes and are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at §404.1568 and §416.968.  They are also described and discussed in Social Security Ruling (SSR) 83-10.  When there is a history of skilled or semi-skilled work, the SSA will consider skills that can be used in other jobs and thus transferred to meet the requirements of other work. For a more detailed look at skill transferability, click here.  In order for work to be considered Past Relevant Work, a Claimant must have worked and trained for the amount of time required to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the proficiency needed for average performance in that job.

Unskilled Work

• needs little or no judgment to do simple duties that can be learned on the job in a short period of time
• may or may not require considerable strength
• a person can usually learn to do the job in 30 days
• little specific vocational preparation and judgment are needed
• no work skills are gained from unskilled work

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Semi-Skilled Work

• work which needs some skills but does not require doing more complex work duties
• work activities are less complex than skilled work, but more complex than unskilled work
• coordination and dexterity may be necessary, such as when hands or feet must be moved quickly to do repetitive tasks
• these jobs may require alertness and close attention to watching machine processes, inspecting, testing or otherwise looking for irregularities, or tending or guarding equipment, property, materials, or persons against loss, damage or injury

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Skilled Work

• requires qualifications in which a person uses judgment to determine the operations to be performed in order to obtain the proper form, quality, or quantity of material to be produced
• may require laying out work, estimating quality, determining the suitability and needed quantities of materials, making precise measurements, reading blueprints or other specifications, or making necessary computations or mechanical adjustments to control or regulate the work
• may require dealing with people, facts, or figures or abstract ideas at a high level of complexity

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SVP by Skill Level

1UnskilledShort demonstration only.
2UnskilledAnything beyond short demonstration up to and including 1 month.
3Semi-SkilledOver 1 month up to and including 3 months.
4Semi-SkilledOver 3 months up to and including 6 months.
5SkilledOver 6 months up to and including 1 year.
6SkilledOver 1 year up to and including 2 years.
7SkilledOver 2 years up to and including 4 years.
8SkilledOver 4 years up to and including 10 years.
9SkilledOver 10 years.

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