Questions for the Vocational Expert About the RFC for Alternate Sitting and Standing

  • Are the jobs that you have identified as allowing alternate sitting and standing classified as light or sedentary jobs by The Dictionary of Occupational Titles?
  • For the jobs that are classified as light, can’t we assume that they require standing and walking for approximately six hours out of an eight-hour working day?
  • If you contend that the DOT is wrong in classifying these jobs as light, how many of these jobs have you personally observed? When? Where? Did you observe these jobs in different parts of the country? How long did you observe them?
  • The DOT doesn’t address the question of opportunity to alternately sit or stand, does it?
  • So, the only evidence we have about the existence of jobs which allow alternate sitting and standing is your observations of jobs?
  • The opportunity to sit on a light job depends on the availability of chairs or stools provided by employers, doesn’t it?
  • Employees usually cannot provide their own chairs, can they?
  • You’re not contending, are you, that all employers provide chairs for the jobs you’ve identified but which the DOT classifies as light?
  • Thus, we’re dealing with some percentage of these jobs where stools or chairs are provided, aren’t we?
  • Tell us for what percentage of these jobs the employers provide stools or chairs; and tell us how you know this.
  • Isn’t it a fact that some of these jobs that we’ve been talking about are performed at desk height? If so, tell us what percentage of these jobs are performed at desk height versus bench height; and tell us how you know this.
  • And isn’t it also true that if the work station is at desk height, approximately 29 inches, most people are going to find it very uncomfortable to stand and work while bent over the desk?
  • It is true, isn’t it, that one normally has more opportunity to stand up when doing a job which is classified as sedentary than one has to sit down when doing a light job?
  • But if one is doing a job which is classified as sedentary, it is most likely done at a work station which is at desk height, isn’t it?
  • If one is doing a job at bench height, what kind of chair is usually provided?
  • Do most of these chairs have lumbar support? Is the lumbar support adjustable? Are the chairs adjustable in height? If not, how high is the seat from the floor? Do most of these chairs have hard seats or cushioned seats? Do these chairs have arm rests?
  • What height is a bench placed at? Are benches at standard height?
  • The height of most benches is not adjustable, is it?
  • The benches are set at a height for an average person, aren’t they?
  • To work while standing at a bench of standard height, a person taller than average must bend over more, musn’t he? A person shorter than average must reach more?
  • For the job where there is an opportunity to sit or stand, that opportunity is for the most part dictated by the work process, isn’t it?
  • Don’t you agree with Social Security Ruling 83-12 that “most jobs have ongoing work processes which demand that a worker be in a certain . . . posture for a certain length of time to accomplish a certain task”?
  • Reading SSR 83-12 is part of a vocational expert’s training, isn’t it?
  • Aren’t you told as part of your training to be a vocational expert that you are “expected to testify only on vocational issues and only on those vocational issues which are relevant to the requirements of the statute, regulations and rulings”?
  • Do you agree with the statement in Social Security Ruling 83-12 that “unskilled types of jobs are particularly structured so that a person cannot ordinarily sit or stand at will”?
  • You do agree, don’t you, with the statement from SSR 83-12 that “most jobs have ongoing work processes that require a worker to be in a certain place . . . for at least a certain length of time to accomplish a certain task”?
  • This means simply that a worker has to spend a certain length of time at the work station in order to do his work, doesn’t it?
  • The jobs you have identified as allowing alternate sitting and standing don’t allow a worker to walk around whenever he feels the need, do they?
  • For the jobs you have identified, what is the maximum amount of time out of every hour that a worker could be away from the work station that would be acceptable and would still allow a worker to meet normal production standards?
  • Some jobs do, in fact, require walking, don’t they? This is also dictated by the work process, isn’t it? If the worker is required by the work process to walk but his impairment dictates that he must sit, he won’t be fulfilling his job duties, will he?
  • If the work process requires that a worker either stand or sit, but his impairment requires that he do the opposite, he won’t be able to fulfill his job duties, will he?
  • From your work with impaired workers, you understand, don’t you, that shifting positions isn’t dictated by the clock?
  • It is dictated by the way the person feels, isn’t it?
  • You interpreted the ALJ’s question literally as involving x number of minutes sitting followed by x number of minutes standing, etc., didn’t you?
  • So if we change the hypothetical question to emphasize the unpredictable nature of the length of time the claimant may sit or stand, does that change your answer?
  • What is the minimum amount of time a worker must remain in a certain posture (either standing or sitting) to accomplish the job tasks?
  • If we change the hypothetical question to include the requirement for significant walking at unpredictable intervals during a working day, how would that affect your opinion about the number of jobs the claimant can do?
  • From your experience dealing with impaired workers, it is most common, isn’t it, that the requirement to shift positions comes unpredictably?
  • In fact, it is unusual that someone’s impairment would allow a shift of position by the clock, isn’t it?