TN 2 (09-11)
DI 25005.001 Determination of Capacity for Past Relevant Work (PRW) —Basics of Step 4 of the Sequential Evaluation Process
SSR 82-62 A Disability Claimant’s Capacity to Do Past Relevant Work, In General
SSR 05-1c Whether Past Relevant Work Must Exist in Significant Numbers in the National Economy
A. Burden of proof at step 4
At step 4 :
If the disability determination proceeds to step 4, the claimant must provide evidence that his or her medically determinable impairment(s) prevent him or her from performing past relevant work (PRW).
If the claimant has PRW that is within his or her residual functional capacity (RFC) as the claimant did the work or as generally performed in the national economy, or the claimant does not provide relevant evidence of PRW, stop evaluation of disability and deny the claim. See POMS DI 25005.005 for situations in which adjudicators may apply expedited step 4 processing.
If the evidence supports a finding that the claimant cannot do PRW, the disability determination proceeds to step 5.
B. Availability of work at step 4
At step 4, do not consider whether PRW exists in significant numbers in the national economy. Adjudicators must limit analysis at this step to a function-by-function comparison of the claimant’s RFC with the demands of PRW as the claimant actually performed that work or as workers generally perform that work in the national economy. Find the claimant not disabled if his or her RFC is consistent with the demands of PRW.
C. Factors not considered at step 4
When evaluating a claimant’s ability to do PRW at step 4, do not consider:
transferability of skills,
whether PRW exists in significant numbers in the national economy,
whether PRW was done in a foreign country,
whether PRW was an elected position,
whether PRW was in the military and the claimant is no longer in the military,
whether the claimant has maintained licensure or currently meets the qualifications for licensure to do PRW,
whether the employer had accommodations for the claimant that are no longer available,
whether the claimant would be hired by an employer,
whether PRW would only be available on a part time or seasonal basis,
whether the claimant would have to relocate to do the job, or
whether a job opening exists.
NOTE: If a claimant alleges inability to do PRW as the result of a medically based reason that prevents him or her from meeting the licensure requirements for his or her PRW, carefully assess the impact of the claimant’s impairment-related limitations or restrictions, including limitations or restrictions resulting from prescribed treatment, on the claimant’s RFC.
EXAMPLE: The claimant states that he can no longer perform his PRW as a truck driver because his narcotic pain medications for his back impairment prevent him from obtaining the commercial driver’s license that is necessary to do his job. Although we do not consider the claimant’s inability to obtain a license, the adjudicator should carefully consider whether the RFC limitations resulting from his back impairment and the side effects of his medications would preclude his PRW as a truck driver.