Identification Number:
DI 22515 TN 7
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Vocational Evidence
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part DI – Disability Insurance
Chapter 225 – Case Development Procedures
Subchapter 15 – Vocational Evidence
Transmittal No. 7, 01/13/2020

Audience

PSC: DE, DEC;
OCO-OEIO: CR, ERE, FCR, FDE, RECONE;
OCO-ODO: DE, DEC, DS, RECONE;
ODD-DDS: ADJ, DHU;

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

01/06/2020

Background

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

 

Summary of Changes

DI 22515.001 Overview of Vocational Evidence Development

We changed a reference for consistency with the revised FTC policy in DI 22515.001C.1.b. In addition, we removed the list of special handling situations and replaced it with a reference to the revised special handling categories in DI 23007.001A because this information was relocated from DI 23007.005.

 

DI 22515.020 Resolving Insufficient Vocational Evidence using a Detail Earnings Query (DEQY) or a Summary Earnings Query (SEQY)

We changed the title of DI 22505.005 in the references in DI 22515.020H for consistency with the revised FTC policy in . In addition, we added a reference to the new FTC section in DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party because we relocated information previously located in DI 22505.005.

 

DI 22515.030 Use of Work History Report Form SSA-3369-BK

For DI 22515.030C.5, we removed the itemized list and reference to the archived POMS DI 23007.004 Refusal to Cooperate with Requests to the Claimant for Evidence or Action. We also added a reference to the new FTC section DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party because we relocated information previously in DI 23007.005. In addition, we added a statement to see DI 23007.001A for claimants who require special handling because we relocated this information from DI 23007.005.

For DI 22515.030E, we changed the title of DI 22505.005 for consistency with the revised FTC policy. In addition, we added a reference to the new FTC section in DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party because we relocated information previously in DI 22505.005.

DI 22515.001 Overview of Vocational Evidence Development

CITATIONS:

Social Security Act – Sections
223(d), 1614(a), and 1631(e);
20 CFR §§
404.1520, 404.1560 thru 404.1569a, 416.960 thru 416.1599; and 416.920; SSR 82-62; and SSR 05-1c

A. Purpose of vocational evidence

In title II and title XVI adult disability claims, we use vocational evidence at Steps 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process.

We use vocational evidence to determine:

  • The claimant’s ability to perform past relevant work (Step 4),

  • Whether the evidence is insufficient and expedited vocational assessment at Steps 4 and 5 of sequential evaluation applies (DI 25005.005),

  • Whether a special medical-vocational profile applies, and

  • The claimant’s ability to adjust to other work (Step 5).

B. Elements of vocational evidence

Vocational evidence is information about the claimant’s:

  • Work experience,

  • Age,

  • Education, and

  • Occupational training (if applicable).

C. Sources of vocational evidence

Evidence is anything the claimant or anyone else submits or that we obtain that is relevant to the individual's claim. For a more complete definition of evidence, see DI 22505.001.

Potential sources of vocational evidence include:

  • The claimant;

  • A prior filing;

  • The SSA-3367;

  • The SSA-3368;

  • The SSA-3369;

  • Medical and nonmedical sources; and

  • Queries.

1. The claimant

The claimant is the preferred source of information about his or her:

  • Work experience,

  • Age,

  • Level of education, and

  • Any specialized training.

a. Represented claimants

When contacting represented claimants, follow DI 31001.010B.

b. Special handling situations

When contacting claimants in special handling situations, follow DI 23007.005B. For claimants who require special handling, see DI 23007.001A.

2. A prior filing

Check prior filings for vocational evidence. Vocational evidence in prior filings may be sufficient for making a current determination.

3. The SSA-3367-F5 Disability Report – Field Office

The SSA-3367-F5 or EDCS 3367 may contain the following evidence pertinent to vocational development:

  • The date the claimant last performed SGA.

  • Work that may meet the requirements for an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA).

  • The date the claimant last met insured status for title II disability insurance benefit (DIB).

  • The end of the prescribed period for title II disabled widow or widower benefit (DWB).

  • The date the claimant attained age 22 title II childhood disability benefit (CDB).

  • The last day of the reentitlement period (CDB) if any of these dates are in the past.

4. The SSA-3368-BK Disability Report – Adult

The SSA-3368-BK contains the following vocational evidence:

  • Work activity

  • Education and training

  • Job history

5. The SSA-3369-BK Work History Report

Use the SSA-3369-BK to gather additional information about the claimant’s work when the information from prior filings and on the SSA-3368 is insufficient for a vocational assessment.

6. Medical and nonmedical sources

You may find information about work in medical evidence, consultative examination reports, special education records, and in information from other nonmedical sources.

7. Queries as a source of vocational evidence

The claimant is the best source of information about his or her past work. However, queries may help you resolve questions about past work when the claimant is having difficulty providing this evidence.

You are not required to use a Detail Earnings Query (DEQY), Summary Earnings Query (SEQY) or other query when developing vocational evidence.

For additional information on resolving insufficient vocational evidence using a Detail Earnings Query (DEQY) or a Summary Earnings Query (SEQY), see DI 22515.020B.

DI 22515.020 Resolving Insufficient Vocational Evidence using a Detail Earnings Query (DEQY) or a Summary Earnings Query (SEQY)

A. Using a query to resolve insufficient evidence

When developing or resolving vocational evidence you are not required to use

  • DEQY or

  • SEQY or

  • Other queries

The queries are not essential tools for gathering or resolving vocational evidence. Queries provide general earnings information not information about the type of work performed.

1. DEQY

The DEQY displays requested earnings information and related data.

To request detailed record information, including identification of employers, an individual may complete the Request for Social Security Earnings Information form SSA-7050-F4.

The DEQY printout displays data extracted from the Master Earnings File (MEF) and the Employer Identification File (EIF).The printout reflects user requested information in three parts:

  • Input, related SSN and special legend header lines

  • Posted detail data, and

  • Remarks.

2. SEQY

A SEQY allows you to compare earnings by year with the information on the Disability report SSA-3368-BK or Work history SSA-3369-BK.

The SEQY provides the year and earnings amount only to assist the claimant with remembering his or her work for that year.

B. Obtaining a DEQY via International Business Machine Personal Communications (PCOM) or eView

1. DEQY via PCOM

To obtain a DEQY via International Business Machine Personal Communications PCOM, you enter "9" on the Master File Query Menu (MFQM) then complete the required fields.

2. DEQY via eView

To obtain a DEQY via eView:

  1. a. 

    Open eView

  2. b. 

    Go to case documents tab

  3. c. 

    Select the Queries heading; Query Selection Screen opens

  4. d. 

    Select the DEQY tab if not already selected.The DEQY cannot have more than 5 request type values. The user has the option to remove or add the values requested in eView.

 

Default Request Type Values
1. Covered Details
4. All Non-Covered Details
5. Pension
7. Special Wage Payment
8. Employer Address

 

Available Request Type Values
1. Covered Details
2. Self-Employment
3. MQGE & Health Insurance
4. All Non-Covered Details
5. Pension
6. Railroad
7. Special Wage Payment
8. Employer Address
9. Last Employer Address

 

  1. a. 

    Enter the relevant period years into “Inclusive Years”.

  2. b. 

    Highlight

    1. 1. 

      Covered Details,

    2. 2. 

      Self-Employment, and

    3. 3. 

      Employer Address. (Use the control key to highlight multiple fields.)

  3. c. 

    Select “Add”.

  4. d. 

    Select “View & Save to EF” button to include the query in the EF.

C. Obtaining a SEQY via PCOM or eView

1. SEQY via PCOM

To obtain an SEQY query via PCOM, follow the procedure in MS QUERIES 003.004.

2. SEQY via eView

To obtain a SEQY via eView:

  1. a. 

    Open eView

  2. b. 

    Go to case documents tab

  3. c. 

    Select the Queries heading; Query Selection Screen opens

  4. d. 

    When the Query Selection Screen opens, select the SEQY tab

  5. e. 

    Enter the relevant period years into “Inclusive Years”

  6. f. 

    Select “View & Save to EF” button to include the query in the EF

D. Required actions when using a query to resolve insufficient vocational evidence

Take the following steps if you decide to use a DEQY or SEQY or other query to address earnings in the claimant’s work history.

1. Include the query in the EF

Select the “View & Save to EF” button in eView.

When you select “View & Save to EF” the returned results are displayed and saved in the EF in the default location under the Case Documents tab. Access to the Queries is based on the user profile. Only users who have access to the query outside of eView will be able to receive query results within eView.

NOTE: For a paper case, or if you are unable to save the query to the EF, you will need to include a copy of the query in the EF or paper case.

2. Vocational review and development

Match the claimant’s job information in forms and evidence with:

  • The yearly earnings listed on the query, or

  • The earnings from each employer for the year within the relevant work period, see DI 25001.001A.64.

If you can match the claimant’s work to the earnings for a year, no additional development is necessary.

You must develop job information for any year that has an earnings level above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level for one month for which there is no corresponding job information since individuals can learn unskilled work in 30 days or less.

If the earnings for a year are not at or above the yearly SGA level, then you must:

  • Determine how many months the claimant worked at the job and

  • Use the monthly SGA chart to determine whether the job was SGA.

If there are earnings for years that the claimant did not list a job, then you must:

  • Reasonably match the earnings to a job listed by the claimant for another year, or

  • Contact the claimant to obtain additional information about work in those years.

EXAMPLE: The claimant indicates he worked from 2001-2002 earning $15,000 each year. If the query shows the claimant worked from 2000 to 2001 earning $15,000 each year you may conclude that the claimant described this work but remembered the years worked incorrectly.

For more information on countable earnings for nonblind employees, see DI 25001.001A.82.

3. Explain query use

  1. a. 

    Address material inconsistencies between any query and job information in forms, evidence, or other statements.

  2. b. 

    Explain how you reconciled any material inconsistencies to reach a conclusion about the job at issue.

4. Items not material inconsistencies

  1. a. 

    Gaps in the claimant’s reported work history when the work history is documented, unless you find

    • Material inconsistencies in what the claimant reported at different times, or

    • Different documents, or

    • Material conflict between what is reported and other evidence in file;

  2. b. 

    Differences between official employer names on a query and the employer names reported by a claimant (queries list the name of the parent corporation which may be different from a subsidiary employer); and

  3. c. 

    Differences between official employer names on a query and the work the claimant reports (queries do not describe the type of work that a claimant did).

E. Required actions when unable to resolve material earnings inconsistencies

1. Refer questions to the field office

If the issue is material to the case, and you cannot resolve material inconsistencies between earnings information in forms, evidence, other statements, or a query, refer questions about work activity that the field office (FO) may be able to resolve to the FO. For more information about work activities development responsibilities, see DI 24001.005.

2. Make determination with evidence in the file

If the claimant or another individual familiar with the claimant’s past work cannot provide the requested information and that information is material to the disability determination, (meaning that expedited vocational assessment at steps 4 and 5 of sequential evaluation does not apply), you must make a determination based on the evidence in file.

In that case, if you are unable to find the claimant not disabled at step 2 of sequential evaluation because he or she does not have a severe medically determinable impairment or disabled at step 3 of sequential evaluation, you must find the claimant not disabled due to insufficient vocational evidence to make a determination at step 4 of sequential evaluation.

F. Office of Qualifty Review (OQR) quality reviewers' procedure no query in file

When there is no query in file, OQR quality reviewers:

  • Must not obtain a query even if it appears that a material inconsistency in the claimant’s work history could be resolved with the information from the query.

  • Should return the case when material inconsistencies exist, specifying for the Disability Determination Services (DDS) the inconsistencies that need to be resolved and explained.

  • Should not instruct the DDS to obtain a query or specify how the disability adjudicator should address any material inconsistency identified by the quality reviewer.

G. OQR quality reviewers' procedures query in file

When there is a query in file, OQR quality reviewers:

  • May use a query (but only the same query that is in the file); and

  • May cite deficiencies based on the information the query contains.

H. References

  • DI 10005.010 Field Office (FO) and Disability Determination Services (DDS) Exchange of Information and Coordination of Actions

  • DI 22505.020 Developing Evidence through a Field Office (FO) or Another Disability Determination Services (DDS)

  • DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party

  • DI 23007.005 Contacting the Claimant, Applicant, Appointed Representative, or Third Party in Claims Involving Failure to Cooperate and Insufficient Evidence

  • DI 24001.005 Work Activity Development Responsibilities

  • DI 25001.001 Medical and Vocational Quick Reference Guide

  • DI 81020.100 Electronic Assistance Requests (AR)

DI 22515.030 Use of Work History Report Form SSA-3369-BK

A. Vocational development

IMPORTANT: For title II claims with a date last insured or prescribed period in the past, ask the claimant to document each job held during the 15 years prior to the date last insured or the end of the prescribed period.

For an overview of vocational evidence development, see DI 22515.001.

1. Telephone or direct contact development

When you need detailed vocational information (in addition to that shown on the SSA-3368-BK (Disability Report – Adult) for the claimant's described job), proceed as follows:

  1. 1. 

    If you obtain vocational information by phone or in person and documentation of the claimant's described job supports a finding of ability to perform past relevant work (PRW), do not document other past work. You can stop vocational development if the claimant has the ability to perform PRW. For detailed information about capacity for PRW, see

    • DI 25005.020 Past Relevant Work (PRW) as the Claimant Performed It

    • DI 25005.025 Past Relevant Work (PRW) as Generally Performed in the National Economy

  2. 2. 

    If documentation of other past work is necessary, fully develop each successive job until you identify a relevant job the claimant can perform.

2. Mail development

When you mail the SSA-3369-BK to the claimant, include a cover letter asking the claimant to document each job held during the 15 years before becoming unable to work because of his or her illnesses, injuries or conditions. You may print and send a partially completed SSA-3369-BK to assist the claimant. You may copy information from the SSA-3368 and paste it into an SSA-3369 to send a partially completed SSA-3369-BK to the claimant.

The “relevant period” is not always date of adjudication. You may advise the individual to address a specific period. For example, for title II claims with a date last insured or prescribed period in the past, ask the claimant to document each job held during the 15 years prior to the date last insured or the end of the prescribed period. For instructions on how to determine the relevant period for different types of claims, see DI 25001.001A.64.

Claimants are generally not familiar with our forms or with the way we use the work description. If the claimant’s completion of the mailed SSA-3369-BK is insufficient, take necessary actions described in DI 22515.030D in this section.

3. Special medical-vocational profiles development

Gather vocational details early in the development process to determine if a claimant meets a special medical-vocational profile. For information on special medical-vocational profiles, see DI 25010.001.

Be alert for information that shows:

  • 35 years or more in unskilled arduous work with a marginal or less education (grade 6 or less) – arduous unskilled work profile;

  • No relevant work, age 55 or older with a limited or less education (grade 11 or less) – no work experience profile; or

  • 30 years or more in one job or field of work, age 60 or older with a limited or less education – lifetime commitment profile.

If the claimant potentially meets the arduous work or lifetime commitment profile, you will have to document the claimant’s work beyond the 15-year relevant period.

4. Part-time work development

If the claimant has PRW that was part-time, and his or her RFC reflects an inability to sustain a 40-hour workweek, pursue targeted development about the work. This permits a function-by-function comparison of the claimant’s RFC and the requirements of his or her relevant part time work. For more information of part-time work that is substantial gainful activity (SGA), see DI 24510.057B.5.

B. Description of form

1. Information about the disabled person (Section 1)

The SSA-3369-BK includes space for identifying information. (Get this information from the SSA-3368-BK or other form in file.)

NOTE: The Disability Determination Services (DDS) or the field office (FO) will complete the identifying information in every case in which completion of the SSA-3369-BK is required. For more information about completing the SSA-3369-BK see,

2. Information about claimant work (Section 2)

List all the jobs the claimant had in the 15 years before becoming unable to work because of his or her illnesses, injuries, or conditions. Section 2 provides space for the dates worked (From MM/YY, To MM/YY).

3. Subsections for each job (Section 2)

In each subsection, provide specific information about the jobs listed on the SSA-3369-BK, or Section 6 of the SSA-3368-BK. Section 2 provides space for describing up to six past jobs. Each subsection asks specific information about:

  1. a. 

    rate of pay and hours of work per day and per week;

  2. b. 

    basic job duties;

  3. c. 

    use of machines, tools or other equipment;

  4. d. 

    use of technical knowledge or skills;

  5. e. 

    whether the claimant had to do any writing, or complete reports;

  6. f. 

    amount of bending, sitting, walking, or related activity;

  7. g. 

    amount, frequency, and duration of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling;

  8. h. 

    other descriptive data providing a complete picture of the nature and duties of the job performed; and

  9. i. 

    any supervisory or lead worker duties.

4. Remarks (Section 3)

Section 3 provides space for the claimant to continue his or her history or to give any other information about his or her PRW. It asks for the name of the person completing the form, if it is not the claimant.

C. DDS Processing of the 3369-BK

For instructions on how to complete the SSA-3369-BK, see DI 11005.025.

1. Section 1

Complete parts A, B, and C. This information should be available from the SSA-3368-BK or other file documents.

2. Section 2

Page 1

You do not need to ask the claimant to complete the work history chart on page 1 of section 2 if Section 6.A of the SSA-3368-BK is adequately completed. You may copy the information from the SSA-3368-BK into an SSA-3369-BK that you mail to the claimant.

Pages 2-7

Obtain detailed information for every job that is not adequately described elsewhere (such as on the SSA-3368-BK). If you request an SSA-3369 by mail and you already have adequate description of the usual job, you may advise the claimant that he or she need not repeat that description.

If there is insufficient space on the form to describe the claimant’s work, use one or more additional SSA-3369-BK s or other continuation sheet.

NOTE: If more than, one SSA-3369-BK is used, complete identifying information in Section 1, and as much of Section 2 as is necessary. Mark the second form “Supplementary” at the top. If a different continuation sheet is used, identify it clearly.

3. Section 3 – Remarks

Provides space for the claimant to give any other information about his or her PRW.

4. Person completing the form

Request that the claimant or the person completing the form for the claimant print his or her name, address, date, and email address (optional) in the spaces provided in Section 3 of the form.

5. Follow up procedure

If the claimant refuses or fails to cooperate, see DI 23007.005 and DI 22505.014. For claimants who require special handling, see DI 23007.001A.

D. DDS review of the SSA-3369-BK

Review the SSA-3369-BK by checking that all items and questions requiring a response are completed. Even if the claimant is unable to give more than a nonspecific answer, such as, “I don't know” or “unknown” to a particular question or item involved, this assures that the claimant has not overlooked or omitted an item or question.)

After reviewing the SSA-3369-BK, telephone the claimant for further information, if needed. When you obtain additional information about a job, identify which job and which information you are modifying or supplementing.

Document any additional information in the Claim Communications section of the electronic Claims Analysis Tool (eCAT). For eCAT exclusions, document your findings on an SSA-5002 (Report of Contact), or the Case Development Summary Worksheet as described in DI 20503.001.

NOTE: If more than one SSA-3369-BK is used, complete identifying information in Section 1, and as much of Section 2 and 3 as is necessary. Mark the second form “Supplementary” at the top. If a different continuation sheet is used, identify it clearly.

1. Resolving inconsistent information

Determine whether the information on the SSA-3369-BK is clear, consistent, and material to the determination. Clarify any inconsistent information material to the determination, including inconsistencies between work demands and the claimant’s narrative descriptions. Do not pursue additional development to make clarifications on inconsistencies that are not material to the disability determination.

For example, when the expedite procedure applies PRW information is not material. For information on the expedited vocational procedures, see DI 25005.005.

If the job duties described seem inconsistent with the claimant’s stated exertional demands, clarify and resolve the issue with the claimant if information about a particular job is material to the determination.

For example, the claimant stated he spent all day collecting trash from individual offices and then dumping that trash into a large dumpster at the end of the day. However, he also stated he performed no lifting as part of his job duties. Clarify this inconsistent information if claimant’s ability to do that job, as he described, is material to the determination. i.e., if he was required to collect trash by lifting it into the dumpster at the end of the day, lifting was part of his job duties.

2. Inconsistencies in time spent doing work requirements and hours worked

Only clarify time spent doing work requirements and hours worked if it is not possible to make reasonable assumptions about the claimant’s intended meaning. For example, the combined hours spent in various tasks do not need to match the total hours worked. Some tasks performed may overlap.

For example, a claimant may stand while stooping. In some instances, it may be difficult for the claimant to parse out the difference between hours standing and hours walking.

For example, if the claimant stated he stood six hours and walked six hours in an eight-hour day that is likely an indication that he spent six hours a day standing or walking intermittently.

Even for instances in which the claimant provides extremely inconsistent times spent doing various work requirements, it may be possible to rule out the claimant’s ability to do that job as performed without further clarifications.

For example, the lifting and carrying requirements of the job may be beyond the claimant’s RFC level, making further clarification of hours spent standing and walking immaterial to the determination.

E. References

DI 11005.025 Completing the SSA-3369

DI 20503.001 Documenting the Disability Folder – Disability Determination Services (DDS)

DI 22515.001 Overview of Vocational Evidence Development

DI 22515.003 Developing Sufficient Vocational Evidence

DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party

 

DI 23007.005 Contacting the Claimant, Applicant, Appointed Representative, or Third Party in Claims Involving Failure to Cooperate and Insufficient Evidence

DI 25005.005 Expedited Vocational Assessment at Steps 4 and 5 of Sequential Evaluation

DI 25005.020 Past Relevant Work (PRW) as the Claimant Performed It

DI 25005.025 Past Relevant Work (PRW) as Generally Performed in the National Economy

DI 25010.001 Special Medical-Vocational Profiles


DI 22515 TN 7 - Vocational Evidence - 1/06/2020