Consider whether the claimant can adjust to any other work that exists in significant
numbers in the national economy, based solely on the claimant's age, education, and
If the claimant’s insufficient work history precludes the identification of PRW skill
level and transferability, you will not be able to identify the specific rule from
the medical-vocational guidelines that applies. See DI 25025.005 Exhibit of Appendix 2 - Medical-Vocational Guidelines.
NOTE: In some cases, you do not need PRW skill level and transferability information because
the claimant’s age, education, and RFC always lead to a determination of not disabled regardless of skill level and transferability factors.
EXAMPLE: Under Rules 201.27, 201.28, and 201.29 of the medical-vocational guidelines, you
will find a 44-year-old claimant with a high school education and a sedentary RFC
not disabled regardless of the claimant's PRW skill level or transferability of those
1. When vocational evidence supports an allowance at step 5
If you did not make a finding at step 4 and any of the potentially applicable special medical-vocational profiles or medical-vocational
guidelines indicates a determination of disabled, take the following actions:
DO NOT allow the claim at step 5. The Social Security Act requires you to develop
a claimant’s relevant work history and make a finding of fact at step 4 before you
can determine that a claimant is disabled.
After returning to step 4, follow all required procedures to develop the claimant’s
If the claimant does not provide the requested information and you do not have sufficient
evidence to make a finding at step 4, follow the refusal to cooperate determination
instructions or the failure to cooperate determination instructions, as appropriate.
If the claimant provides the information needed to make a finding at step 4 or you
obtain sufficient evidence to make a determination without the claimant’s cooperation,
make a disability determination based on the evidence in file.
DI 25025.005 Exhibit of Appendix 2 - Medical-Vocational Guidelines
DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from a Claimant or Third Party
DI 23007.005 Contacting the Claimant, Applicant, Appointed Representative, or Third Party in Claims
Involving Failure to Cooperate and Insufficient Evidence
2. When vocational evidence supports a denial at step 5
If all the potentially applicable medical-vocational guidelines indicate a determination
of not disabled based solely on the claimant's age, education, and RFC, take the following action.
Deny the claim. If you do not consider previous work experience, the step 5 denial
will always be a framework determination. See Application of Medical-Vocational Rules
Select the lowest potentially applicable numbered rule to use as a framework for your
EXAMPLE: Use Rule 201.21 for a 46-year-old claimant with a high school education and a sedentary
RFC or Rule 202.20 if this claimant has a light RFC.
NOTE: If the claimant has solely a non-exertional limitation(s), use Rule 204.00 as a framework,
see DI 25025.001B.1.
If applicable, include the following statement in the vocational assessment: “A finding
about the capacity for PRW has not been made. However, this information is not material
because all potentially applicable medical-vocational guidelines would direct a finding
of “not disabled,” given the claimant’s age, education, and RFC. Therefore, the claimant
can adjust to other work."
three specific occupations that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant has the ability to perform with an affirmative statement acknowledging
that such jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy; or
the Social Security Ruling that supports the finding that the claimant’s occupational
base is not significantly eroded.
Comply with current rules regarding the content of the personalized disability explanation
(PDE) and, when necessary, include the following statement in the PDE:
"We do not have sufficient vocational information to determine whether you can perform
any of your past relevant work. However, based on the evidence in file, we have determined
that you can adjust to other work." For additional PDE instructions, see DI 26530.020 – Personalized Disability Explanation in Initial Denials.