Identification Number:
DI 25005 TN 8
Intended Audience:
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Capacity to Do Past Relevant Work
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part DI – Disability Insurance
Chapter 250 – Medical-Vocational Evaluation
Subchapter 05 – Capacity to Do Past Relevant Work
Transmittal No. 8, 01/13/2020

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

01/06/2020

Background

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

 

Summary of Changes

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

We updated the references in DI 25005.005D.1 for consistency with the revised FTC policy.

 

DI 25005.050 Making the Past Relevant Work (PRW) Determination

We updated the references in DI 25005.050A for consistency with the revised FTC policy.

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

Citations:

Social Security Act - Sections 223(d)(2) and 1614(a)(3)

Regulations - 20 CFR 404.1516, 404.1520, 404.1594, 416.916, 416.920, 416.987, 416.994

A. Vocational assessment issues

The instructions in this section apply at Disability Determination Services (DDSs) and to all adjudicators at each level of the administrative review process.

The instructions in this section apply to adult disability and disabled adult child claims under title II, adult disability claims and age 18 redeterminations under title XVI, and to determinations of whether a current adult beneficiary’s disability continues.

Consider borderline age issues prior to expediting the vocational assessment at Step 5. See DI 25015.006E.2. Borderline Age — Determine whether the overall impact of the factors justifies using the higher age category to find the claimant disabled.

The instructions in this section do not change our rules for determining whether a claimant is disabled.

B. Adjudicator actions for steps 1 – 3 of sequential evaluation

Develop the medical and vocational evidence and evaluate the claim from steps 1 through 3 of sequential evaluation using current guidelines.

C. Adjudicator actions for step 4 of sequential evaluation

At this step of the sequential evaluation process, make a finding of fact about the claimant’s residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform the work-related physical and mental demands of past relevant work (PRW). Consider whether the claimant can meet the demands of PRW as the claimant actually performed it or as generally performed in the national economy.

1. When vocational evidence is sufficient to evaluate PRW at step 4

If the vocational evidence is sufficient to find that the claimant can perform one past relevant job as the claimant actually performed it, or as generally performed in the national economy, deny the claim at step 4; do no further vocational development.

2. When vocational evidence is not sufficient to evaluate PRW at step 4

If the vocational evidence is not sufficient to find whether the claimant is able to perform PRW, you may proceed with one of the two following options.

  1. a. 

    Develop the vocational evidence according to procedures in the following instructions.

    • DI 22515.001 General - Development of Vocational Evidence

    • DI 22515.005 Use of Form SSA-3369-BK (Work History Report)

  2. b. 

    Proceed directly to step 5.

NOTE:

  • Do not deny a claim for refusal or failure to cooperate at step 4 before considering whether the claimant can adjust to any other work at step 5.

  • Before proceeding to step 5, consider whether any of the special medical-vocational profiles explained in DI 25010.001 Special Medical-Vocational Profiles might be applicable. If any of the profiles might apply, you cannot use this expedient.

D. Adjudicator actions for step 5 of sequential evaluation

Consider whether the claimant can adjust to any other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, based solely on the claimant's age, education, and RFC.

If the claimant’s insufficient work history precludes the identification of PRW skill level and transferability, you will not be able to identify the specific rule from the medical-vocational guidelines that applies. See DI 25025.005 Exhibit of Appendix 2 - Medical-Vocational Guidelines.

NOTE: In some cases, you do not need PRW skill level and transferability information because the claimant’s age, education, and RFC always lead to a determination of not disabled regardless of skill level and transferability factors.

EXAMPLE: Under Rules 201.27, 201.28, and 201.29 of the medical-vocational guidelines, you will find a 44-year-old claimant with a high school education and a sedentary RFC not disabled regardless of the claimant's PRW skill level or transferability of those skills.

1. When vocational evidence supports an allowance at step 5

If you did not make a finding at step 4 and any of the potentially applicable special medical-vocational profiles or medical-vocational guidelines indicates a determination of disabled, take the following actions:

  1. a. 

    DO NOT allow the claim at step 5. The Social Security Act requires you to develop a claimant’s relevant work history and make a finding of fact at step 4 before you can determine that a claimant is disabled.

  2. b. 

    After returning to step 4, follow all required procedures to develop the claimant’s PRW.

    • If the claimant does not provide the requested information and you do not have sufficient evidence to make a finding at step 4, follow the refusal to cooperate determination instructions or the failure to cooperate determination instructions, as appropriate.

    • If the claimant provides the information needed to make a finding at step 4 or you obtain sufficient evidence to make a determination without the claimant’s cooperation, make a disability determination based on the evidence in file.

References:

  • DI 25010.001 Special Medical-Vocational Profiles

  • DI 25025.005 Exhibit of Appendix 2 - Medical-Vocational Guidelines

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

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

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

2. When vocational evidence supports a denial at step 5

If all the potentially applicable medical-vocational guidelines indicate a determination of not disabled based solely on the claimant's age, education, and RFC, take the following action.

  1. a. 

    Deny the claim. If you do not consider previous work experience, the step 5 denial will always be a framework determination. See Application of Medical-Vocational Rules DI 25025.001.

  2. b. 

    Select the lowest potentially applicable numbered rule to use as a framework for your determination.

    EXAMPLE: Use Rule 201.21 for a 46-year-old claimant with a high school education and a sedentary RFC or Rule 202.20 if this claimant has a light RFC.

    NOTE: If the claimant has solely a non-exertional limitation(s), use Rule 204.00 as a framework, see DI 25025.001B.1.

  3. c. 

    If applicable, include the following statement in the vocational assessment: “A finding about the capacity for PRW has not been made. However, this information is not material because all potentially applicable medical-vocational guidelines would direct a finding of “not disabled,” given the claimant’s age, education, and RFC. Therefore, the claimant can adjust to other work."

  4. d. 

    Cite either:

    • three specific occupations that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant has the ability to perform with an affirmative statement acknowledging that such jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy; or

    • the Social Security Ruling that supports the finding that the claimant’s occupational base is not significantly eroded.

  5. e. 

    Comply with current rules regarding the content of the personalized disability explanation (PDE) and, when necessary, include the following statement in the PDE:

    "We do not have sufficient vocational information to determine whether you can perform any of your past relevant work. However, based on the evidence in file, we have determined that you can adjust to other work." For additional PDE instructions, see DI 26530.020 – Personalized Disability Explanation in Initial Denials.

DI 25005.050 Making the Past Relevant Work (PRW) Determination

CITATIONS:

SSR 82-62 A Disability Claimant’s Capacity to Do Past Relevant Work, In General

A. Policy for making PRW determination

The claimant is the primary source for vocational documentation, and statements by the claimant regarding past work are generally sufficient for determining the skill level, exertional demands, and non-exertional demands of such work. For development and follow-up requirements, see DI 22505.014 Requesting Evidence or Action from the Claimant or Third Party.

If the claimant refuses or is unable to provide the necessary work history, the evidence is not available from a third party, and this evidence is material to the disability determination, deny his or her claim for insufficient evidence. See DI 23007.015 Making a Determination Based on the Evidence in File..

Explain your determination in the personalized disability notice.

NOTE: See DI 25005.005 for situations adjudicators may apply expedited step 4 processing.

B. Procedure for making PRW determination

  1. 1. 

    Compare the claimant’s RFC on a function-by-function basis with the physical and mental demands of his or her PRW.

  2. 2. 

    Consider whether the claimant’s RFC permits PRW:

    • as he or she performed it; or

    • as generally performed in the national economy.

  3. 3. 

    Perform the steps for comparison in the order you determine most expeditious based on the facts of the case. Stop once you identify PRW that the claimant can do.

  4. 4. 

    Do not proceed to step 5 of sequential evaluation until you determine that the claimant cannot do any PRW as performed or as generally performed in the national economy.

NOTE: See DI 25005.005 for situations adjudicators may apply expedited step 4 processing.

C. Special case--process for evaluating a non-severe impairment that prevents PRW

In the rare case where a claimant has no “severe” impairment or combination of impairments, but the non-severe impairment prevents the ability to do PRW because of the unique features of the work, do not deny the claimant at step 2. Proceed through the sequential evaluation process.

Assess the claimant’s non-severe limitations or restrictions and make a function-by-function comparison of your assessment with the requirements of the claimant’s PRW.

At step 4, find that the claimant cannot do PRW unless he or she is capable of doing the work as generally performed in the national economy.

If the claimant cannot do PRW as he or she performed it or as generally performed in the national economy, proceed to step 5.

Do not consider the special medical vocational profiles when a non-severe impairment prevents PRW because of the unique feature(s) of the work. These profiles require a severe impairment. See DI 25010.001A, Special Medical Vocational Profiles.

Consider ability to adjust to other work using a framework of medical-vocational rule 204.00. See DI 25025.010 Using rule 204.00 as a Framework for a Determination.

EXAMPLE: The claimant is 60 years of age, has a 9th grade education and 34 years of work at a printing factory. He has recently become severely allergic to the chemicals required to do this work. He is no longer able to do this work as he performed it or as generally performed in the national economy because of his allergy. Because the claimant has a not severe impairment that prevents his PRW, he is not a denial at step 2. At step 5, he will be able to adjust to other work using a framework of medical-vocational rule 204.00.


DI 25005 TN 8 - Capacity to Do Past Relevant Work - 1/06/2020