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Hey AV Tech! Your job is obsolete! Ok, this is not a serious statement. In reality, AV Technician is a vibrant, growing, well-paying job--more here--but, in a certain way, the U.S. government now says otherwise. In June, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) released updates to their list of generally available occupations, and one of the jobs they removed was Audiovisual Technician.

Here's the background: The SSA maintains a list of occupations which it uses to test if people are truly unable to work and thus eligible for SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance). If there's a generally available job that you can do, you're not eligible for SSDI. The issue is that this list had become EXTREMELY outdated. People were being denied benefits because they could, in theory, get comically outdated roles such as "nut sorter" or "pneumatic tube operator". 

So some change was needed. But in the list of 114 jobs they removed from their occupation set last month was at least one job that remains very viable: Audiovisual Technician. Yes, I'm as confused as you are.

The kernel of logic for removing these jobs is that they must be "generally available". So a job that definitely still exists but is unavailable in major regions is reasonable to remove. For example, it's appropriate to remove power reactor operator, since the mountain west is devoid of nuclear power plants and therefore many people live almost 1000 miles from the nearest power reactor operator job. This was the logic that led to AV Technician being removed from the list. 

But this is absurd. Our research on pay and benefits in the AV workforce reveals AV Tech is a job in all 50 states (not to mention around the world). The jobs do skew urban rather than rural, but, again, all 50 states have AV technicians! 

Sad to say, but the government whiffed on this one. That said, the good news is that there's no harm to you from AV Tech being declared not generally available. In a way, it's actually positive: All else equal, you'd rather be more eligible for government benefits than less! So take heart, in your obsolete job: You're now potentially eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance.

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