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Social Security Adult Listing 12.05C rewards the lawyer who digs a little deeper into a claim. The listing requires:

A valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function

The beauty of this listing, from my point of view, it that it transforms a case that would lose at step 5 of the sequential evaluation into a case that is sure to win at step 3.

Typically this case arrives after a DDS denial, with a 40-something year old claimant and a residual functional capacity (RFC) for light or medium work and a limitation to simple instructions.

You look at the claim file and you see that either a learning disability or borderline intelligence is diagnosed, which is why the "simple instructions" limitation is part of the RFC. If you stop there, you do not have a case that would prevail at hearing. In fact, vocational testimony would not even be needed to deny the claim. It properly could be denied under the medical-vocational guidelines.

Sometimes the parent is the one to make initial contact with the lawyer, and the parent provides the needed background information. However, sometimes the claimant is the one to contact a lawyer, and you have to connect the dots to recognize a potential 12.05C claim.

So you inquire about special education. You get the school records. You talk to the parents, if possible. And from one of these places, there is often an archived evaluation showing IQ testing with a score in the 60-70 range. And now you have a 12.05C listing case.

The second prong of the listing, "an additional and significant work-related limitation of function" is not defined or further explained by the regulations. The First Circuit has a good rule, which is if the additional impairment is "severe' at step 2, it is a significant work-related limitation. See Nieves v. Sec'y, Health & Human Servs., 775 F.2d 12, 14 n.7 (1st.Cir. 1985)("A claimant satisfies the second half of the Sec. 12.05(C) test if he or she has a severe impairment under Sec. 404.1520(c).")