TN 6 (05-99)

DI 25020.005 Physical Limitations

A. Policy

1. Climbing and Balancing

  1. As a general rule, a small degree of limitation (e.g., the person retains the capacity to ascend and descend ramps and stairs but cannot maintain balance on a ladder) would not significantly impact on any range(s) of work.

  2. Can be critical in certain specific types of occupations, e.g., occupations that require climbing ladders, ropes, poles, etc.

2. Fingering and Feeling

  1. Fingering is needed to perform most unskilled sedentary jobs and to perform certain skilled and semiskilled jobs at all levels of exertion.

  2. The mere ability to feel the size, shape, temperature or texture of an object by the fingertips, is a function required in very few jobs.

  3. A loss of fine manual dexterity narrows the sedentary and light ranges of work more than it does the medium, heavy and very heavy ranges of work.

3. Hearing

  1. The inability to hear, because it vitally affects communication, may (depending upon the extent of hearing loss) significantly impinge on all range(s) of work.

  2. There are many possible medical variables of hearing loss and thus, the exact type and degree of loss must be considered.

  3. The overall impact of a hearing loss (or a degree of hearing loss) also depends upon the type of occupations being considered.

EXAMPLE: Certain degrees of hearing loss may preclude the performance of some occupations that require good hearing (e.g., bus driver) without precluding the performance of other occupations (e.g., printing press operator).

4. Kneeling and Crawling

  1. Are relatively rare activities even in arduous work.

  2. Limitations in kneeling and crawling, in themselves, would have very little impact on the sedentary, light and medium occupational bases.

  3. A limitation(s) may affect the ability to perform certain specific occupations, e.g., a carpet layer.

5. Loss of Use of an Upper Extremity

  1. Greatly impinges on the unskilled sedentary occupational base since such jobs usually require good use of the hands.

  2. Would reduce the total number of unskilled occupations within the person's RFC to a little more than the number represented by the full range of sedentary work.

  3. Amputation above the elbow may reduce the effectiveness in use of the other hand due to the loss of bimanual manipulation and difficulty or inability to handle bulky objects.

  4. Amputation below the elbow or partial loss of use of the extremity requires consideration of:

    • the condition of the remaining stump;

    • the person's ability to use a prosthesis; and

    • the person's remaining ability for fine and gross manipulation.

6. Medically-Necessary Hand-Held Assistive Device

See DI 25015.020B.6.

7. Need To Alternately Sit and Stand

See DI 25015.020B.6.

8. Reaching and Handling

  1. Are activities required in almost all jobs.

  2. Significant limitations may eliminate large numbers of occupations a person could otherwise perform.

  3. Depending upon the degree of limitation—may significantly impinge on any range of work.

9. Stooping and Crouching

  1. Some stooping is required to do almost any kind of work.

  2. Only occasional stooping and no crouching is required to perform most sedentary and light occupations. (See DI 25001.001 for definition of “occasionally.”)

  3. The ability to frequently stoop and crouch is required to perform most medium, heavy and very heavy occupations because of the lifting requirements involved. (See DI 25001.001 for definition of “frequently.”)

  4. No crouching is required to perform most sedentary or light work.

10. Visual

  1. Given only a visual impairment, a substantial occupational base will usually be found for a person who:

    • retains sufficient visual acuity to handle and work with rather large objects, and

    • has the visual fields necessary to avoid ordinary hazards in the workplace.

  2. Even if the criteria in “a.” above are met, however, a finding of disabled could be appropriate in a few rare instances in which the claimant's profile is extremely adverse, e.g.:

    • closely approaching retirement age,

    • limited or less education,

    • no transferable skills, and

    • essentially a lifetime commitment to a field of work in which good vision is essential.

    (This would be adjudicated under the Lifetime Commitments Special Medical-Vocational Profile. See DI 25010.001B.3.)

B. Procedures

When appropriate, consult a Vocational Specialist to determine the effects of a particular limitation on the range(s) of work or particular occupation(s) being considered.

C. References

  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), DI 24510.000.

  • Terms Used in Medical-Vocational Evaluation, DI 25001.001

  • Determining Capacity to Do Other Work - Implications of a Residual Functional Capacity for Less Than a Full Range of Sedentary Work (SSR 96-9p), DI 25015.020


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0425020005
DI 25020.005 - Physical Limitations - 09/14/2012
Batch run: 09/14/2012
Rev:09/14/2012