TN 6 (02-15)

DI 25025.001 The Medical-Vocational Guidelines

Citations:

Social Security Act (the Act) §§: 2(d)(2)(A) and 1614(a)(3)(B)

20 CFR §§: Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2, 404.1520(f), 404.1560 thru 404.1569(a), 416.920(f), and 416.960 thru 416.969(a)

Social Security Rulings (SSR): 86-8, 85-15, 83-14, 83-12, 83-11, and 83-10

A. History and purpose of the medical-vocational guidelines

In 1979, we published the medical-vocational guidelines in Appendix 2 to Subpart P of the regulations. The purpose of the medical-vocational guidelines is to increase the consistency of disability determinations and decisions at step 5 of sequential evaluation.

B. Description of the medical-vocational guidelines

The medical-vocational guidelines consist of one numbered rule, 204.00, and three tables of numbered rules, Table No. 1, Table No. 2, and Table No. 3. We also call the tables “the grids.” Each numbered rule in the tables of the appendix resolves the issue of ability to adjust to other work by addressing specific combinations of residual functional capacity (RFC), age, education, and past work experience. These medical-vocational rules in Tables No. 1, 2, and 3 indicate the resolution of the issue of ability to adjust to other work in the “Decision” column for the rule. Rule 204.00 provides guidance on ability to adjust to other work.

1. Rule 204.00

a. Whom do we evaluate under rule 204.00 of the medical-vocational guidelines?

We use rule 204.00 for claimants who have:

  • no exertional limitations, but who have impairment-related limitations affecting their ability to do the nonexertional demands of work; or

  • exertional limitations, but whose impairment-related nonexertional limitations are consistent with a finding of “disabled” without further analysis of their exertional limitations.

See “Using Rule 204.00” in DI 25025.010.

b. What are the nonexertional demands of work?

We categorize the nonexertional demands of work as:

  • Mental;

  • postural (balancing, climbing, stooping, crouching, kneeling, crawling);

  • manipulative (reaching, handling, fingering, feeling);

  • visual (near acuity, far acuity, depth perception, accommodation, color vision, field of vision);

  • communicative (hearing, speaking); and

  • environmental (extreme cold, extreme heat, wetness, humidity, noise, vibration, atmospheric, hazards).

We define these terms in the Medical-Vocational Quick Reference Guide in DI 25001.001.

2. The rules in Tables No. 1, 2, and 3 of the medical-vocational guidelines

a. Whom do we evaluate under the rules in the tables?

We use the rules in Tables No. 1, 2, and 3 for claimants who have impairment-related limitations that affect the ability to do the exertional demands of work.

b. What are the exertional demands of work?

We categorize the exertional demands of work as:

  • walking,

  • standing,

  • sitting,

  • lifting,

  • carrying,

  • pushing, and

  • pulling.

We define these terms in the Medical-Vocational Quick Reference Guide in DI 25001.001.

c. How do we apply the rules in the tables?

We use the rules in:

  • Table No. 1 for claimants who are capable of performing the demands of sedentary work;

  • Table No. 2 for claimants who are capable of performing the demands of light work; and

  • Table No. 3 for claimants who are capable of performing the demands of medium work