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If you have a claimant awaiting at the hearing level who was denied benefits by DDS at Step 4 due to the ability to perform a past job, and that job was last performed more than 5 years ago, that job no longer counts as PRW.

Take a look at the case to see if an on the record request is appropriate. Ideally, any remaining PRW would be clearly precluded by the DDS RFC assessment, and the claimant is old enough to be found disabled by direct application of the Medical-Vocational guidelines.

Here is some sample language, excerpted from an on the record request I just filed:

This is an on the record request for John Smith.

The claimant suffers from severe degenerative disc disease, status post cervical fusion, among other severe impairments. DDS assessed lifting and carrying limitations of 10 pounds, in addition to other limitations (Reconsideration DDE, Case Documents, “A” section). Although the claimant has more severe functional limitations than assessed by DDS, his claim should be granted on the record based upon the DDS RFC because of the recent revision to the past relevant work (PRW) period.

This claim was denied at Reconsideration at Step 4 based upon a Sedentary job last held in 2010. SSA’s Final Rule amending the PRW period from 15 years to 5 years became effective on June 22, 2024. As a result, that 2010 Sedentary job no longer constitutes past relevant work. See also Social Security Ruling 24-2p.

Based upon the new PRW 5-year rule, the claimant’s sole past relevant work is as a driving instructor, which was performed at the Light exertional level (Work History Report, Case Documents, “E” section), and is generally performed in the national economy at the Light exertional level (see INSTRUCTOR, DRIVING, DOT code 099.223-010).

At Step 4 of the sequential evaluation, the claimant’s PRW is precluded, based upon the 10-pound lifting/carrying limitation of the DDS RFC. His PRW was at the Light exertional level, which requires lifting and carrying up to 20 pounds occasionally. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and Social Security Ruling 83-10.

At step 5 of the sequential evaluation, the claimant does not have acquired job skills that transfer to “a significant range” of jobs within his limited RFC, as required by Section 202.00 (e) of the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. He does not have recent education that allows direct entry to skilled work within his limited RFC. The claimant is 60 years old. At the Sedentary exertional level, he grids “disabled” by direct application of Medical Vocational Rule 201.06. At the Light exertional level, he grids “disabled” by direct application of Medical Vocational Rule 202.06.

A Recommended Fully Favorable Decision Checksheet is attached.

A Fully Favorable decision is respectfuly requested.

7/15/2024 Update: The OTR request has been granted, and a Fully Favorable decision issued.