I keep coming back to this since it's such an interesting example of what's been happening at Social Security for the last few years as the agency, seems obsessed with making it harder to get disability benefits. Somebody made a mistake and wrote something sensible in Social Security's policy manual but it could be interpreted as helping claimants in some minor way so it had to be quickly excised but the change couldn't be announced or explained. Here's what I've posted before:
Not too long ago someone told me that this example had been added to Social Security's Program Operations Manual Series (POMS):And here's an e-mail I received from a reader:
A 50-year-old claimant with a high school education and unskilled past relevant work has an RFC [Residual Functional Capacity] for standing/walking 2 hours of an 8-hour day and sitting approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour day. He is able to lift/carry/push/pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. This RFC falls between rule 201.12, which has a decision of disabled, and 202.13, which has a decision of not disabled. In this case, use rule 201.12 as a framework for a decision of disabled because the definitions in DI 25001.001 (Medical-Vocational Quick Reference Guide) indicate light work usually requires walking or standing for approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour day. Since the claimant can only walk or stand for 2 hours, he has a significantly reduced capacity to perform light work and a sedentary medical-vocational rule applies as a framework for a determination.I posted about this. Not long after I posted about it, without any announcement of a change, the example disappeared from the POMS section to which I cited. However, you can still see the example on the transmittal sheet, which is available online, which notified the various components of the agency about this and other changes. As long as it's there, it's going to be cited to courts and Administrative Law Judges. So, now, the question is whether the example will disappear from the transmittal sheet? Will the agency pretend that none of this ever happened? I've heard of the concept of a non-person. Can there be a non-thing? Can Social Security permanently erase this from the memory bank?
Regarding POMS section DI 25025.015, transmittal sheets disappear from the public site after 60 days, so you might want to save a copy.
Transmittal sheets and archived POMS sections are maintained on SSA's internal web site indefinitely.
I don't know enough about the disability program to understand why the example was problematical, but the people who maintain the POMS web site were asked to remove the example (and did so) on March 27. You can see at the bottom of the section, in small type, "Batch Run" and "Rev" dates indicating when it was changed.I'd prefer you didn't mention my name if you use this information.