Chart with age, education, and work experience combinations.

By Thomas E. Bush

Excerpted from Social Security Disability Practice

The following chart is a composite of information from the three grids in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. The chart focuses on those rules that result in a claimant being found disabled. It shows different combinations of age, education and work experience with the maximum exertional residual functional capacity that a claimant may have and still be found disabled. Thus, the chart shows what you have to prove when, for example, a 55-year old high school graduate with an unskilled work background comes to your office to discuss heart impairment: the claimant must have an RFC for light work or less in order to win the case.

Age  Education Previous work experience Max. RFC Rule
60-64 6th grade or less Unskilled Medium 203.01
7th to 11th grade Unskilled Light 202.01
11th grade or less None Medium 203.02
11th grade or less Skilled or semiskilled—skills not transferable Light 202.02
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Unskilled or none Light 202.04
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Skilled or semiskilled—skills not transferable Light 202.06
55-59 11th grade or less None Medium 203.10
11th grade or less Unskilled Light 202.01
11th grade or less Skilled or semiskilled—skills not transferable Light 202.02
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Unskilled or none Light 202.04
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Skilled or semiskilled–skills not transferable Light 202.06
50-54 Illiterate or unable to communicate in English Unskilled or none Light 202.09
11th grade or less— at least literate and able to communicate in English Unskilled or none Sedentary 201.09
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Unskilled or none Sedentary 201.12
High school graduate or more— does not provide for direct entry into skilled work Skilled or semiskilled— skills not transferable Sedentary 201.14
Illiterate or unable to communicate in English Unskilled or none Sedentary 201.17
All educational levels— at least literate and able to communicate in English Unskilled, none, or skilled or semiskilled— skills not transferable Sedentary
occupational base must be significantly compromised
201.00(h)
18-44 All educational levels including illiterate or unable to communicate in English Unskilled, none, or skilled or semiskilled— skills not transferable Sedentary
occupational base must be significantly compromised
201.00(h)

Thomas E. Bush has devoted his practice to Social Security disability issues since 1977.  He was elected to NOSSCR’s Board of Directors in 1988, and was President of NOSSCR for the 1997-98 term.  He is the author of Social Security Disability Practice, from which this article is excerpted.