Ensure that information about the claimant’s PRW is detailed enough to compare the
requirements of the work with the claimant’s residual functional capacity (RFC) on
a function-by-function basis.
If the evidence does not permit a function-by-function comparison, obtain additional
information from the claimant or a third party.
If the evidence the claimant or the third party provided about how the claimant performed
the PRW appears internally inconsistent, clarify the inconsistency before determining
whether the claimant can do PRW as he or she performed it.
EXAMPLE: The claimant says he did no lifting in his job as an office cleaner, but his description
of duties includes mopping and vacuuming the floors, emptying trash, and transporting
trash to a central collection area. Obviously, some lifting, carrying, pushing, and
pulling were required to complete the claimant’s job tasks. The adjudicator will need
to obtain additional information about the weights lifted, carried, pushed or pulled
if ability to do this PRW as performed is material to the disability determination.
The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) contains information about occupations
in the national economy. An occupation is an aggregate of the requirements of a job
as workers perform it at a number of different workplaces.
Do not use DOT information about work requirements as a measure of the accuracy of
the claimant’s description of his or her past job. How workers perform a job may vary
by workplace depending on an employer’s needs.
Do not use occupational information such as the DOT to fill in missing information
about the job requirements.
EXAMPLE: The claimant’s description of how he performed his PRW includes all of the information
necessary except for details about the reaching and handling required. It appears
that the job is within the claimant’s RFC; however, his RFC includes reaching and
handling limitations. The adjudicator cannot rely on the DOT to fill in this missing
information in the claimant’s job description when evaluating the claimant’s ability
to do PRW as he performed it. The adjudicator will need to contact the claimant to
find out the reaching and handling requirements of the job as he performed it.
NOTE: If ability to do PRW as the claimant performed it is material to the disability determination,
a DOT description cannot substitute for a description of how the claimant performed
his or her job.