Identification Number:
DI 25025 TN 9
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Medical-Vocational Guidelines
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Disability
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part DI – Disability Insurance
Chapter 250 – Medical-Vocational Evaluation
Subchapter 25 – Medical-Vocational Guidelines
Transmittal No. 9, 06/26/2020

Audience

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

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

06/27/2020

Background

On February 25, 2020, the final rule “Removing Inability to Communicate in English as an Education Category” was published. Under the new rules, we classify a claimant's level of education into one of the four remaining categories: (1) Illiteracy, (2) Marginal Education, (3) Limited Education, and (4) High School Education and Above. To provide guidance on assessing a claimant's education using the four remaining categories, we issued the Social Security Ruling 20-01p, "How We Determine an Individual's Education Category.” We updated the affected POMS to reflect the changes in the regulation and the guidance provided in SSR 20-01p.

 

Summary of Changes

DI 25025.025 Vocational Factors Do Not Match a Medical-Vocational Rule

Under section B., we removed all reference to "unable to communicate in English." and added "ages 45 to 49" in the last sentence of the first paragraph.

Under section C., we removed all reference to "unable to communicate in English." We removed "Example 2" and renamed "Example 3" as "Example 2."

 

DI 25025.035 Tables No. 1, 2, 3, and Rule 204.00

Under section A., we revised Rules 201.17, 201.18, 201.23, and 201.24, as published in the final rule.

Under section B., we revised Rules 202.09, 202.10, 202.16, and 202.17, as published in the final rule.

Under section C., we revised Rule 203.01, as published in the final rule.

Conversion Table
Old POMS ReferenceNew POMS Reference
DI 25025.025DI 25025.025
DI 25025.035DI 25025.035

DI 25025.025 Vocational Factors Do Not Match a Medical-Vocational Rule

CITATIONS:

Social Security Act (the Act) §§:
223(d)(2)(A) and 1614(a)(3)(B) 20
CFR §§: Social Security Rulings (SSR):
96-9p, 85-15, 83-14, 83-12, 83-11, 83-10, and 82-41.

A. Using borderline age for determinations

Use a rule as a framework for a favorable determination when using the borderline age provisions. See the instructions for “Borderline Age” in DI 25015.006.

B. Unstated assumptions in the medical-vocational guidelines

When we published the medical-vocational rules, we made assumptions about the combinations of residual functional capacity (RFC), age, education, and past work experience that we use when evaluating claimants filing for disability. Some of those assumptions were that claimants who were illiterate would not have skilled or semiskilled past relevant work (PRW), and that younger individuals (ages 45 to 49) with a high school education would have skilled or semiskilled PRW.

Because of those assumptions, we have no rules:

  • for younger individuals (ages 45-49) with a sedentary RFC, high school education, and unskilled work experience, or

  • for claimants who are illiterate and have skilled or semiskilled past work experience and no transferable skills.

However, regulations § 404.1565 and § 416.965 indicate that we treat a claimant who has no transferable skills the same as a claimant with unskilled PRW. If we used rules for skilled or semiskilled work with no transferable skills and limited or less education for claimants who are illiterate, our determination would be inconsistent with the regulations. In the unusual case in which an illiterate claimant had transferable skills, the rule for limited or less education and transferable skills would apply, because transferable skills permit adjustment to other work regardless of other unfavorable vocational factors.

EXAMPLE: A 47-year-old claimant who is illiterate has an RFC for sedentary work and skilled or semiskilled PRW with no transferable skills. Rule 201.17 for a claimant who is illiterate with unskilled or no PRW indicates a finding of disabled is appropriate. Rule 201.19, which would apply to a claimant who is 47 years old with a limited or less education and skilled or semiskilled PRW with no transferable skills indicates a finding of not disabled is appropriate. Using Rule 201.19 in this case scenario would yield a result inconsistent with our regulations.

C. If no applicable rule reflects the claimant’s PRW

If no applicable rule reflects the claimant’s PRW, use the following guidelines to identify the appropriate rule to use as a framework:

Example Number

Claimant’s past relevant work

Use the closest rule indicating

1

unskilled

Skilled or semiskilled, but no transferable skills

2

skilled or semiskilled work experience and no transferable skills

Unskilled

3

skilled or semiskilled work experience and transferable skills

Transferable skills

EXAMPLE 1:

The claimant is 46 years old with a high school education and unskilled PRW with a sedentary RFC. Rule 201.21 is for a younger individual age 45-49 with skilled or semiskilled PRW and no transferable skills. Use rule 201.21 as a framework for a determination since there is no rule for a 46-year-old claimant with a high school education and unskilled PRW.

EXAMPLE 2:

The claimant is a 53-year-old who is illiterate and has past relevant work as a skilled ironworker. He is able to use those skills in other work within his light RFC. There is no medical-vocational rule for a claimant with a light RFC who is closely approaching advanced age and who is illiterate with semiskilled or skilled work PRW with transferable skills. Use rule 202.12 as a framework for a determination. Although rule 202.09 suggests that closely approaching advanced age claimants who are illiterate should be found disabled, transferable skills permit the claimant to adjust to other work despite the adversities of his or her vocational factors. See 20 CFR Subpart P, App. 2 201.00(e) and 202.00(e).

DI 25025.035 Tables No. 1, 2, 3, and Rule 204.00

Follow this link to view the complete contents of Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2. See the charts below for The Medical-Vocational Guidelines.

A. 201.00 Maximum sustained work capability limited to sedentary work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s)

Table No. 1 - Residual functional capacity: Maximum sustained work capability limited to sedentary work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s).

Rule

Age

Education

Previous work
experience

Decision

201.01

Advanced age

Limited or less

Unskilled or none

Disabled

201.02

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

201.03

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.04

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Disabled

201.05

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.06

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

201.07

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.08

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

201.09

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Unskilled or none

Disabled

201.10

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

201.11

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.12

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Disabled

201.13

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.14

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

201.15

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.16

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

201.17

Younger individual age 45-49

Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Disabled

201.18

Younger individual age 45-49

Limited or Marginal, but not Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.19

Younger individual age 45-49

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable.

Not disabled

201.20

Younger individual age 45-49

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.21

Younger individual age 45-49

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable.

Not disabled

201.22

Younger individual age 45-49

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled-skills transferable

Not disabled

201.23

Younger individual age 18-44

Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.24

Younger individual age 18-44

Limited or Marginal, but not Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.25

Younger individual age 18-44

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

201.26

Younger individual age 18-44

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

201.27

Younger individual age 18-44

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

201.28

Younger individual age 18-44

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

201.29

Younger individual age 18-44

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

B. 202.00 Maximum sustained work capability limited to light work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s)

Table No. 2 - Residual functional capacity: Maximum sustained work capability limited to light work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s).

Rule

Age

Education

Previous work
experience

Decision

202.01

Advanced age

Limited or less

Unskilled or none

Disabled

202.02

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

202.03

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

202.04

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Disabled

202.05

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.06

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Disabled

202.07

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

202.08

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

202.09

Closely approaching advanced age

Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Disabled

202.10

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or Marginal, but not Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.11

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

202.12

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

202.13

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.14

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

202.15

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

202.16

Younger individual

Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.17

Younger individual

Limited or Marginal, but not Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.18

Younger individual

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

202.19

Younger individual

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

202.20

Younger individual

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

202.21

Younger individual

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

202.22

Younger individual

High school graduate or more

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

C. 203.00 Maximum sustained work capability limited to medium work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s)

Table No. 3 - Residual functional capacity: Maximum sustained work capability limited to medium work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s).

Rule

Age

Education

Previous work
experience

Decision

203.01

Closely approaching retirement age

Marginal or Illiterate

Unskilled or none

Disabled

203.02

Closely approaching retirement age

Limited or less

None

Disabled

203.03

Closely approaching retirement age

Limited

Unskilled

Not disabled

203.04

Closely approaching retirement age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.05

Closely approaching retirement age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.06

Closely approaching retirement age

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.07

Closely approaching retirement age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.08

Closely approaching retirement age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.09

Closely approaching retirement age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.10

Advanced age

Limited or less

None

Disabled

203.11

Advanced age

Limited or less

Unskilled

Not disabled

203.12

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.13

Advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.14

Advanced age

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.15

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.16

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.17

Advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.18

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.19

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.20

Closely approaching advanced age

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.21

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.22

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.23

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.24

Closely approaching advanced age

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.25

Younger individual

Limited or less

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.26

Younger individual

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.27

Younger individual

Limited or less

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.28

Younger individual

High school graduate or more

Unskilled or none

Not disabled

203.29

Younger individual

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills not transferable

Not disabled

203.30

Younger individual

High school graduate or more - does not provide for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled - skills transferable

Not disabled

203.31

Younger individual

High school graduate or more - provides for direct entry into skilled work

Skilled or semiskilled skills not transferable

Not disabled

D. 204.00 Maximum sustained work capability limited to heavy work (or very heavy work) as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s)

The residual functional capacity to perform “heavy work” or “very heavy work” includes the functional capability for “work at the lesser functional levels” as well, and represents “substantial work capability” for jobs in the national economy at all skill and physical demand levels. Individuals who retain the functional capacity to perform “heavy work” (or “very heavy work”) ordinarily will not have a severe impairment, or will be able to do their past work-either of which would have already provided a basis for a decision of not disabled. Environmental restrictions ordinarily would not significantly affect the range of work existing in the national economy for “heavy work” (or “very heavy work”). Thus, an impairment which does not preclude “heavy work” (or “very heavy work”) would not ordinarily be the primary reason for unemployment, and generally is sufficient for a finding of not disabled, even though age, education, and skill level of prior work experience may be considered adverse.


DI 25025 TN 9 - Medical-Vocational Guidelines - 6/27/2020