The law provides that, in order to be found disabled, an individual must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) of such severity that he or she is not only unable to do previous work but cannot, considering his or her age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.
Individuals who have marginal education and long work experience limited to (1) arduous unskilled physical labor (2) advanced age, limited education and no work experience or (3) a physical condition that limits work activity (RFC), may be eligible for a medical vocational allowance.
Medical vocational allowances involve a sequential evaluation process whereby an individuals work history is examined in the following order:
- Past work activity
- Severity and duration of the impairment(s) - residual functional capacity
- Ability to do past work
- Vocational factors
- Impaired individual's capability to perform other work differing from that of his or her past relevant work experience (or, in the case of a person without work experience, his or her capability to begin to work)