found eligible for benefits. If not, the process continues to the consideration of vocational factors in Steps 4 and 5.
At this point in the process, the adjudicative team assesses the residual functional capacity of the claimant. Form SSA-4734-BK, called “Physical Residual Functional Capacity Assessment,” is used for physical impairments, and Form SSA 4734 is used when a mental impairment has been identified. These are assessments of what the claimant can do in spite of any physical and mental impairment over a 12-month period of time. The forms require assessment of exertional, postural, manipulative, visual, communicative, and environmental limitations. The auditory functions listed include pure-tone threshold, tested by air and bone conduction, and speech discrimination (test unspecified).
In Step 4, the decision makers must determine whether any of the claimant’s physical and mental limitations cited in the evaluations of residual functional capacity precludes the performance of “past relevant work.” If the claimant is found able to perform past relevant work in spite of cited physical and mental limitations, he or she is found ineligible for