Incapacity Determination - PEP Step VII
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Incapacity Determination - PEP Step VII

Revised December 30, 2013

Evaluating a client's capacity to perform relevant past work

WAC 388-447-0090Progressive evaluation process step VII — How does the department determine ability to perform past work?

<p>WAC 388-447-0090

WAC 388-447-0090

Effective January 1, 2014

WAC 388-447-0090 Progressive evaluation process step VII — How does the department determine ability to perform past work?

  1. If your overall severity rating is moderate (three) or marked (four) and we have not approved or denied incapacity by this stage of the progressive evaluation process (PEP), then we decide if you are able to do the same or similar work as you have done in the past. We consider your current physical and/or mental limitations when making this decision. Vocational factors are education, relevant work history, and age.
  2. We evaluate your work experience to determine if you have relevant past work. "Relevant past work" means work that:
    1. Is defined as gainful employment per WAC 388-447-0001;
    2. Has been performed within the past five years; and
    3. You performed long enough to acquire the knowledge and skills to continue performing the job. You must meet the specific vocational preparation level as defined in Appendix C of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
  3. For each relevant past work situation that you have, we compare:
    1. The exertion, non-exertional, educational, and skill requirements detailed in the DOT for that job; and
    2. Current cognitive, social, exertional, and non-exertion factors that significantly limit your ability to perform past work.
  4. After considering vocational factors, we deny incapacity when we determine you:
    1. Are able to perform any of your relevant past work; or
    2. Recently acquired specific work skills through completion of schooling or training, for jobs within your current physical and mental capacities.
  5. We approve incapacity at this step if you are fifty-five years of age or older and do not have the physical or mental ability to perform relevant past work.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

Worker Responsibilities

  1. Enter the age rounded to the nearest full year.
  2. Enter each job from DSHS 14-050, Statement of Health, Education and Employment that is considered relevant past work.
  3. Use O*NET to get exertion and skill levels for the jobs the client has held.  According to the Department of Labor, O*Net has replaced the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
  4. Compare the physical and mental requirements for each job with the person's current functional abilities, as identified in Steps V and VI.  If mental or non-exertional physical limitations prevent an individual from performing a job they were formerly capable of doing, indicate that the person cannot do this job and document the specific reason.


A client is advised not to work in high places because of a seizure disorder.  This would prevent the client from returning to past work as a roofer, but the client could perform past work as a retail clerk.

  1. Deny incapacity when a person has recently completed a vocational training or gained work skills that they can currently use to perform a job.
  2. Deny incapacity when a person is able to do relevant past work performed within the past 5 years.
  3. Approve incapacity when a person is 55 years old or older and is unable to perform relevant past work, or has no relevant past work.
Modification Date: December 30, 2013