Cited occupations must be within the claimant’s residual functional capacity. The
claimant may be capable of performing occupations at several exertional levels. For
example, we would generally expect a claimant with a medium RFC to be capable of performing
medium, light, and sedentary unskilled occupations that did not exceed the requirements
of his RFC.
While it is acceptable to cite occupations from the entire unskilled pool of work
that the claimant can perform, in some cases citing occupations at the heaviest exertional
levels the claimant can perform may more clearly support our determination of not
disabled than citing occupations from the lighter levels of work. This is especially
important when given the claimant’s age and education level an RFC for lighter levels
of work would be consistent with a medical-vocational allowance.
EXAMPLE: A 55-year-old claimant with a high school education has an RFC for medium work. Although
the claimant would have an occupational base of medium, light, and sedentary unskilled
work, citing sedentary or light occupations may not support a medical-vocational denial
as clearly as citing medium occupations—since a light or sedentary RFC would likely
be consistent with a finding of disabled.