TN 6 (02-15)
DI 25025.020 Applying the Medical-Vocational Rules When the Claimant has Exertional and Nonexertional Limitations
Social Security Act (the Act) §§: 223(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): 96-9p, 86-8, 85-15, 83-14, 83-12, 83-11, and 83-10
A. Exertional limitations are consistent with a finding of disabled
When the claimant has an impairment(s) resulting in both exertional and nonexertional limitations, start by looking at the rule that comes closest to approximating the claimant’s exertional limitations. If that rule directs a finding of disabled, use that medical-vocational rule to direct your determination. Do not consider the effect of the claimant’s nonexertional limitations on the occupational base.
B. Nonexertional limitations are consistent with a finding of disabled
When the claimant has impairment-related nonexertional limitations that are consistent with a determination of disabled, use rule 204.00 as a framework and allow. For additional information, see “Using Rule 204.00 as a Framework for a Determination” in DI 25025.010.
C. How to consider the impact of the combination of the claimant’s exertional and nonexertional limitations
If the rule that comes closest to approximating the claimant’s impairment-related exertional limitation(s) directs a finding of not disabled and the claimant’s impairment-related nonexertional limitation(s) are not consistent with a determination of disabled:
Begin at the rule that most closely approximates the claimant’s exertional limitations; then
Determine how the claimant’s nonexertional limitation(s) affect that exertional occupational base by considering the information about general requirements for that exertional occupational base found in the Medical-Vocational Quick Reference Guide in DI 25001.001. Additionally, consider the information in:
Use the rule that comes closest to approximating the claimant’s remaining occupational base as a framework for a determination.
Explain the basis of your conclusions about how the claimant’s nonexertional limitation(s) affects his or her exertional occupational base.
If necessary, use a Vocational Specialist’s advice to help you make this determination.
D. Significantly eroded sedentary occupational base or inability to sustain a 40-hour workweek
1. When the applicable sedentary medical-vocational rule directs a finding of disability
Use that rule to direct a finding of disabled. See “Using the Medical Vocational Guidelines” in DI 25025.005.
2. When the applicable sedentary medical-vocational rule does not direct a finding of disabled
Use the sedentary rule that comes closest to the claimant’s medical-vocational factors of age, education and past work experience as a framework for a determination, even though the decision for that rule is “not disabled.” Explain why you are finding the claimant’s limitations significantly erode the occupational base for sedentary work, or why you are finding the claimant is not capable of sustaining a 40-hour workweek.
For additional guidance on how to make these types of determinations, see:
DI 25015.020 Determining Capability to Do Other Work - Implications of a Residual Functional Capacity for Less Than a Full Range of Sedentary Work; and
DI 24510.057 Sustainability and the Residual Functional Capacity Assessment.