Identification Number:
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs/OHO/OARO/ DDSs/DPBs/DPUs
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Guidance Regarding the Citation of Certain Occupations at Step Five of the Sequential Evaluation Process
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.

Retention Date: 09/30/2024

A. Purpose

This emergency message (EM) clarifies and consolidates guidance related to evidentiary support for certain “not disabled” determinations and decisions that use the medical-vocational guidelines (20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2) as a framework for decision making. It explains heightened evidentiary and articulation requirements about certain Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) occupations whose continued widespread existence multiple courts have questioned.

B. Background

At step five in the sequential evaluation process for adult disability claims (and at the corresponding step in the medical improvement review standard used in continuing disability reviews), we must determine whether an individual can adjust to other work, given their residual functional capacity (RFC) along with their age, education, and work experience. In determinations and decisions in which the medical-vocational guidelines do not direct an outcome under our rules, we use the medical-vocational guidelines as a framework for decision making. When we use the medical-vocational guidelines as a framework and make a finding of “not disabled,” we must support the finding with evidence that an individual can adjust to work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.

In the medical-vocational guidelines and our other rules, we take administrative notice of the DOT and its companion publication, the Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of Occupational Titles (SCO), as reliable sources of information. Social Security Ruling (SSR) 00-4p explains that, when there is an apparent conflict between vocational expert (VE) or vocational specialist (VS) evidence and information in the DOT, the adjudicator must elicit a reasonable explanation for the conflict and explain in the determination or decision how the conflict is resolved. For example, descriptions of occupations in the DOT may refer to job materials or processes that have been replaced by more modern materials or processes identified by a VS or VE. This may create a conflict that an adjudicator must address under SSR 00-4p.

Some courts have questioned whether some occupations continue to be performed in the manner that they are described in the DOT. To ensure that our decisions are adequately supported and consistent with SSR 00-4p, we are clarifying the evidence needed to resolve these potential conflicts and support a finding of “not disabled” with respect to the listed occupations discussed below.

C. Policy

An adjudicator may not cite any of the DOT occupations listed below to support a framework “not disabled” determination or decision without additional evidence from a VS or VE supporting the adjudicator’s conclusion that, as the occupation is currently performed:
    · Its requirements are consistent with the individual’s RFC, and

    · It exists in the national economy in numbers that alone, or in combination with work in other cited occupations, are significant.

The determination or decision must include or summarize the VS or VE’s evidence that supports such a conclusion. This requirement applies if the adjudicator intends to rely on any of the following occupations as support for a framework finding of “not disabled”:

DOT CodeDOT Occupational TitleDOT Industry Designation
249.587-018Document Preparer, Microfilmingbusiness services
249.587-014Cutter-and-Paster, Press Clippingsbusiness services
239.687-014Tube Operatorclerical
318.687-018Silver Wrapperhotel and restaurant
349.667-010Host/Hostess, Dance Hallamusement and recreation
349.667-014Host/Hostess, Headamusement and recreation
379.367-010Surveillance-System Monitorgovernment services
521.687-010Almond Blancher, Handcanning and preserving
521-687-086Nut Sortercanning and preserving
726.685-010Magnetic-Tape Winderrecording
782.687-030Puller-Throughglove and mitten
976.385-010Microfilm Processorbusiness services

NOTE: Alternatively, adjudicators may support the determination or decision with other occupation(s) appropriate to the facts of the claim. This approach may be the most efficient way to ensure our burden at step five of the sequential evaluation process is met and that the record contains the necessary evidence to support the “not disabled” finding.

D. Questions

Disability Determination Services (DDS) personnel should direct all other program-related and technical questions to their Regional Office (RO) support staff using vHelp or Program Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns, or problems to their Central Office contacts.

Office of Hearings Operations personnel should direct questions through their office’s management chain. Regional staff may direct questions about this matter to the Division of Field Procedures in the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge.

Office of Appellate Operations personnel should direct questions through their management chain. Managers may direct further questions to the Executive Director’s Office.


    · 20 CFR 404.1560, 404.1566, 416.960, and 416.966

    · SSR 00-4p: Titles II and XVI: Use of Vocational Expert and Vocational Specialist Evidence, and Other Reliable Occupational Information in Disability Decisions

    · DI 25015.030 Use of Vocational Expert and Vocational Specialist Evidence, and Other Reliable Occupational Information in Disability Decisions—SSR 00-4p

    · DI 25025.030 Support for a Framework “Not Disabled” Determination
    · DDSAL 1025 Clarification Regarding the Necessary Evidentiary Support When Citing Certain Occupations to Show the Claimant’s Capacity for Other Work

    · HALLEX I-2-5-48 Vocational Experts - General

    · HALLEX I-2-5-57 Obtaining Vocational Expert Testimony Through Interrogatories

    · HALLEX I-2-6-74 Testimony of a Vocational Expert

EM-24027 - Guidance Regarding the Citation of Certain Occupations at Step Five of the Sequential Evaluation Process - 06/22/2024