TN 6 (02-15)
DI 25025.005 Using the Medical-Vocational Guidelines
Social Security Act (the Act) §§: 223(d)(2)(A) and 1614(a)(3)(B)
20 CFR §§: Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2, 404.1520(f), 404.1560 thru 404.1569(a), 416.920(f), and 416.960 thru 416.969(a)
Social Security Rulings (SSR): 96-9p, 86-8, 85-15, 83-14, 83-12, 83-11, and 83-10
A. The medical-vocational guidelines and sequential evaluation
1. Applying step 5
Apply step 5 of sequential evaluation only after determining the claimant:
is not performing substantial gainful activity (SGA);
has a severe impairment;
does not meet or equal a listed impairment;
cannot do any past relevant work (PRW) based on a function-by-function comparison of residual functional capacity (RFC) with the demands of PRW both as the claimant performed the job and as the occupation is generally performed in the national economy; and
does not meet one of the special medical-vocational profiles found in “Special Medical-Vocational Profiles” in DI 25010.001).
2. Exceptions to following the steps in order
It is not necessary to follow the steps in order when the claimant:
meets the requirements for expedited step 4 of sequential evaluation as described in “Expedited Vocational Assessment at Steps 4 and 5 of Sequential Evaluation” in DI 25005.005; or
is not performing SGA, has a severe impairment(s), cannot do PRW, and the adjudicator determines it is more expeditious to allow the case on a medical-vocational basis as described in “Curtailing Development of Fully Favorable Claims” in DI 24515.020 than it would be evaluate the claimant’s impairment(s) under the listings.
CAUTION: No matter how restrictive a claimant’s RFC, you must always develop the claimant’s PRW and perform step 4 of sequential evaluation prior to finding the claimant disabled at step 5 of sequential evaluation. See DI 25005.005D.1.a.
B. Using a rule to direct a determination
1. How to determine if a rule directs a determination
A rule directs a determination when:
the claimant can do substantially all of the range of work represented by the exertional requirements for Table No. 1, 2, or 3; and
his or her vocational factors of age, education, and past work experience meet the criteria of a rule.
To determine if the claimant’s vocational factors meet the criteria of a rule, use the categories for:
age found in “Age as a Vocational Factor” in DI 25015.005 and Borderline Age in DI 25015.006,
education found in “Education as a Vocational Factor” in DI 25015.010, and
past work experience found in “Work Experience as a Vocational Factor” in DI 25015.015.
NOTE: Rule 204.00 never directs a determination. See DI 25025.005C.1. in this section.
2. The implication of a rule directing a determination
When the claimant’s exertional RFC and vocational factors of age, education, and past work experience meet the criteria of a rule, the issues of work adjustment and existence of work in the national economy for the claimant are resolved.
If the rule directs a determination of: