TN 10 (02-23)

DI 22515.010 Developing Additional Vocational Evidence

A. When additional vocational evidence is not needed

1. Work is not relevant

If the evidence is sufficient to show that past work does not meet any one of the criteria for relevancy, you have ruled it out. You will not need to obtain a full description of the demands and duties of the job. For detailed relevancy requirements see, DI 25005.015.

2. Demands of past work are beyond the residual functional capacity (RFC)

You may rule out past work if even one of the physical or mental demands are beyond the RFC both as the claimant did the job and as generally performed in the national economy. There is no need to develop additional evidence about whether the job was relevant or whether any other demands of the job are within the claimant’s RFC.

3. Expedited vocational assessment applies

If the vocational evidence is not sufficient to make a step 4 finding, consider using an expedited vocational assessment, if applicable. For more information about expedited vocational assessment at steps 4 and 5 of sequential evaluation, see DI 25005.005.

4. Capacity for past work

If the vocational evidence is sufficient to find the claimant can do even one past relevant job on a function-by-function basis, either as described or as generally performed in the national economy, find the claimant not disabled at step 4 of sequential evaluation. No further vocational development is needed.

B. When you need additional vocational development

1. Cannot establish relevancy of past relevant work (PRW)

You must obtain additional vocational development if all of the following are true:

  • expedite procedures do not apply;

  • it appears that the claimant may be capable of performing a past job either as claimant performed it or as generally performed in the national economy; and

  • you need additional information to determine if that job met the requirements for past relevant work.

2. Cannot establish the claimant can perform PRW

You must always have sufficient medical-vocational evidence to rule out ability to do PRW both as the claimant described it and as generally performed in the national economy prior to allowing at step 5 of sequential evaluation.

You must obtain additional vocational development if:

  • expedite procedures do not apply;

  • the claimant’s work meets the relevancy requirements;

  • the claimant has provided insufficient evidence about PRW to determine if the claimant can do the job as the claimant performed it; or

  • the evidence is insufficient to identify the occupation as it is generally performed in the national economy.

3. Significantly restricted RFC

You must have sufficient vocational evidence to rule out ability to perform PRW as the claimant performed it. You will not be able to identify work as generally done in the national economy for claimants with an RFC for:

  • inability to sustain a workday,

  • inability to meet the basic demands of unskilled work, or

  • significantly restricted range of sedentary work.

C. How to develop additional vocational evidence

1. Contacting the claimant for vocational information

After reviewing all available vocational evidence, you may obtain additional vocational information from the claimant by phone. Phone contact may be the most expeditious method to gather additional or clarifying information about age, education, and work history.

NOTE: If the claimant is incompetent, hospitalized, or otherwise unable to respond, obtain the necessary information from a family member or from the person filing on behalf of the claimant.

2. Completing an SSA-3369-BK by phone

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

3. Other methods of documenting job information obtained directly from the claimant

If you choose not to document vocational information obtained by phone on an SSA-3369-BK, document the information in the Claim Communications section of the electronic Claims Analysis Tool (eCAT). This ensures the information will be included in the Disability Determination Explanation (DDE).

EXCEPTION: For eCAT exclusions, document your findings on SSA-5002 (Report of Contact), or the Case Development Summary Worksheet as described in DI 20503.001. You may also document the information using the Disability Claim Processing System (DCPS).

4. Sending a new SSA-3369 (Work History Report)

If you send a new SSA-3369-BK, ask that the claimant completely document each job held during the relevant 15-year period.

D. Sufficiency of vocational evidence in reconsideration level claims

For reconsideration claims, review the vocational evidence from the initial level for accuracy and completeness. If the information is inadequate for a reconsideration determination, develop only the vocational evidence necessary to make the reconsideration determination.

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DI 22515.010 - Developing Additional Vocational Evidence - 02/27/2023
Batch run: 02/27/2023