mination. As Dr. Norwood pointed out, measurement can only take place when the concepts are carefully defined and field tested.

In recent years, survey researchers have recognized that cognition and stakeholders should play important roles in survey design, and obtaining information on disability is no exception. The second interim report of this committee recommended that SSA establish a cognitive laboratory for the Disability Evaluation Study (DES), disability decision process research, and for other purposes of the agency.


Self-reporting could be part of the assessment, possibly as a screening tool. It could improve the quality of the process if it is viewed as participation of the individual in the assessment, which, in turn, may make denial of benefits more acceptable to applicants. Although recent research has shown that it is possible to validate self-reporting of the ability to do work, self-reporting of performance is not as straightforward as some may suggest. Testing measurements do not exist at the present time that give reproducible, valid, sensitive, and low-cost assessments that permit classifying persons as unable to work, particularly if assistive technology and other accommodations are taken into consideration. Also, answers to self-report questions may depend on the context and the respondent's feeling about the safety of the environment. Various dimensions must be considered, including the physical, cognitive, degree of training and education, work history, and motivation.

Disability is not a permanent or static state and therefore, assessment at one point in time is not sufficient. The conditions of disability change over time, as do the skills and demands of work in the labor market. Therefore, when functional capacity measures are developed and their ability to measure the characteristics of functioning determined, it is important to distinguish between measures currently configured around the traditional physical, psychological, and social functioning dimensions and something as hard to assess as the ability to keep up with constant change in the workplace.

There is also the difficulty of disentangling functional requirements and work requirements. Linking work requirements with functional assessment measures is central to SSA's disability determination. SSA plans to use the various demands for work from Occupational Information Network (O*NET). O*NET is being developed under contract with the Department of Labor (DOL) as a replacement for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. While O*NET is very useful for DOL's purposes, SSA's purpose in defining functional capacity to work is very different from the purposes and uses of the DOL. Difficult measurement problems exist in relation to labor demands associated with jobs, and there are serious concerns about whether O*NET can actively capture the work environment for the purposes SSA intends. Moreover, O*NET was designed for

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