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Specialist Trainee Position Description
What does a Disability Specialist do?
Disability Specialists (1) gather information about applicants and their medical conditions, and (2) decide if the applicants are able to do substantial work. The gathering of evidence is done by mail or telephone. The Specialist needs to know what the applicant believes to be the reason(s) he is unable to work, how the impairment(s) limit(s) his activities, what medical treatment and studies have been done and where, what type of work the applicant has done in the past, and the educational level of the applicant. In addition to the applicant, the Specialist may also contact family members, employers, third parties (such as neighbors), and doctors and hospitals where the applicant has been treated. In some instances, the Specialist would decide that additional evidence would be needed and would request consultative medical examinations at government expense.
When the Specialist determines that sufficient evidence has been gathered, she would decide if the applicant’s medical condition would be severe enough to prevent him from doing substantial work. In making this decision, the Specialist would consider the severity of the medical condition, any physical or mental limitations imposed by the impairment(s), and the applicant’s age, education, and past work experience.
The Specialist position requires a unique blend of medical knowledge and understanding of vocational issues. For example, the Specialist could review one case in which the medical condition was so severe that it would be reasonable to assume that anyone with that impairment severity would be unable to work, regardless of the vocational factors of age, education, and work skills. An example of such a case would be an applicant who had had a stroke that left him permanently paralyzed on one side of the body.
In another case, the Specialist might have to consider more than just the objective medical findings. An example of this type of situation would be an applicant who had had back surgery for a disk problem and now had minimal neurological abnormalities on a physical examination. The factors that would have to be considered in this case would include the severity of the applicant’s symptoms, any restriction to the applicant’s activities, the age and education of the applicant, and the type of work, which the claimant had performed previously. Taking into consideration all of these factors plus the medical findings, the Specialist would decide if the applicant would be unable to do substantial work for a period of a year or more.
Must I have a medical or rehabilitation counseling background to be eligible to apply?
No, Specialists are hired as trainees and are trained in the medical and administrative aspects of the job. All trainee applicants must have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. A specific major is not required, although a successful applicant must demonstrate the ability to learn highly technical legal and medical terminology.
Excellent verbal skills (both oral and written) and analytical skills are important in this position. An ability to organize one’s work and to handle a large volume of work is also a must. Disability applicants depend on Specialists to give accurate decisions as quickly as possible.
What are the pay and benefits?
Currently, starting pay is at the yearly rate of $32,410. Trainees who make satisfactory progress in learning the job progress to the rate of $33,652 at six months. At the end of the first year, trainees are promoted to the Specialist I position at the rate of $36,791. If specified criteria are met, a Specialist I with two years of experience can be promoted to the Specialist II position to handle appellate level claims and receive a 10% salary increase. Any legislative increases will be added to these amounts.
Promotional opportunities beyond the Specialist II position are available on a competitive basis. Benefits are the same as for all North Carolina State employees, and that includes free health insurance for the employee unless a health maintenance plan is voluntarily selected. Vacation time is earned at the rate of 2.3 weeks per year for the first two years and increases 3 days per year at 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years, for a maximum or 5.15 weeks per year. Please see www.ncgov.com for more information about state benefits.
Last Updated Date: 11/20/2007 12:14:28 PM