TN 36 (09-15)
DI 28020.250 New or Improved Diagnostic or Evaluative Techniques
404.1594(d)(3) and §416.994(b)(3)
A. Introduction to new or improved diagnostic or evaluative techniques
New or improved methods of diagnostics or evaluative techniques show that the impairment(s) is not as severe as it was previously determined in the most recent favorable medical decision.
B. Procedure to apply the new or improved diagnostic or evaluative techniques exception
To apply this exception:
the new or improved diagnostic or evaluative technique must be generally available after the most recent favorable medical decision; and
the public has been notified of the new or improved technique; and
the current evidence shows the individual is capable of engaging in SGA; or
in a Title XVI childhood disability case, the child does not have an impairment that meets or equals any current listing.
1. Consideration of the impact of the technique on the disability determination
If a new or improved diagnostic or evaluative technique became generally available after the comparison point decision (CPD), consider the techniques explanation located in the appropriate section of DI 33535.001 and the impact of the technique on the disability determination.
2. Applying the exception
Decide whether the technique is the primary basis for showing the impairment(s) is not as disabling as previously thought. Apply the exception if the new or improved technique has an important impact on the determination as shown by the following:
The individual (with otherwise unchanged findings, allowed under the listing requirements) has no impairment(s) of listing severity; or
An individual has more functional capacity than previously thought (based on otherwise unchanged findings).
3. Referrals made to add to the list
When evidence includes results of techniques that appear newly developed or newly improved, which experienced adjudicators have not encountered before, submit such cases (through the usual regional office channels) for consideration of adding the new technique to the cumulative list located in DI 33535.001. In any such submittal, include a rationale explaining why the new or improved technique shows that the impairment(s) is not as disabling as previously determined.
4. Additional development
Apply the usual documentation requirements. Do not order a test or evaluation just to apply this exception. A technique listed in DI 33535.001 may be requested in a consultative examination if it is part of the usual documentation requirements for the impairment(s) involved and it is not received as part of the medical evidence of record.
Example of when to order a test or evaluation
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Revised appears in DI 33535.035 and may be purchased under listing 112.05.
C. Exclusions of new or improved diagnostic or evaluative techniques exception
Do not apply this exception if the new or improved diagnostic or evaluative technique:
Is not listed in DI 33535.001 Scope of the Subchapter - Cumulative List of Medical Diagnostic or Evaluative Techniques;
Became generally available before the CPD, as shown in DI 33535.001; or
Was available to the individual at the time of the CPD (as shown by CPD evidence)
D. Example of new or improved diagnostic or evaluative techniques exception application
The electrocardiographic (ECG) exercise test has replaced the Master’s 2 step test as a measurement of heart function. With the new evaluative technique, it shows the beneficiary’s condition is not as disabling as previously thought. Apply this exception after considering all current impairment(s).
DI 33535.001, Scope of the Subchapter - Cumulative List of Medical Diagnostic or Evaluative Techniques