The program uses a “Listing of Impairments” to determine whether an applicant is disabled. Traditionally, applicants without a medical condition meeting or mirroring an entry on the listing faced great difficulty in obtaining benefits. Listing-based determinations, however, have plunged from 80 percent to 50 percent over the past 30 years according to the Social Security Administration. In these decades, determinations shifted from the listings to a complex array of rules known as the “Medical-Vocational Grid.”
The grid—designed for cases that fail to meet the listings—uses age, education/skills level, and language proficiency as determinations criteria. But the grid has grown increasingly outdated even as its use proliferated. Continuing to eschew the listings in favor of the grid is fiscally unsustainable, and grossly unfair to current workers.
The whole paper is available here.