By David F. Traver

Excerpted from Social Security Disability Advocate’s Handbook

After interviewing a claimant, and after reviewing the disability claim file and contacting third party witnesses such as co-workers, employers, and family members as necessary, a claimant’s representative will have determined the nature of the claimant’s past work activity in sufficient detail to list the following characteristics of each past relevant job the claimant has performed:

Client Name

1 Employer
2 The job title “as performed”
3 Date the job began
4 Date the job ended
5 Reason(s) the job ended
6 Job duties “as performed”
7 Function-by-function physical & mental (exertional and nonexertional) demands required to carry out the job duties “as performed” (worker trait factors)
8 Environmental conditions in which the job was performed
9 Wages/Self-employment income (by month, if possible, and as necessary to make an SGA determination)
10 Impairment-related work expenses
11 Employer or other subsidies
12 Special circumstances, if any, under which the job was performed
13 Machines used by the worker
14 Tools used by the worker
15 Equipment used by the worker
16 Work Aids used by the worker
17 Work processes carried out
18 Work setting
19 Industry
20 Materials used by the worker
21 Products made
22 Subject matter dealt with
23 Services rendered
24 Skill level (SVP) “as performed”
25 DOT job title and 9-digit occupational classification number
26 DOT physical demand classification
27 DOT skill level classification (SVP)
28 DOT Reasoning (R), Mathematical (M), and Language (L) levels
29 GOE code
30 Significant SCO function-by-function worker trait factors “as generally performed”

Armed with this information, a direct function-by-function comparison of the claimant’s RFC with the functional demands of past relevant work resolves the step-four issue. If the step-four determination favors the claimant, the foregoing information will then be required to make the step-five determination, including a determination of whether the claimant has acquired work skills which may be transferred to other jobs within the claimant’s residual functional capacity.


David F. Traver has represented hundreds of claimants at SSA and over 200 claimants in U.S. District Courts.  He has bachelor and master degrees in vocational rehabilitation, and is the author of Social Security Disability Advocate’s Handbook, from which this article is excerpted.