The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

18. What is the Grid and how is it used (Step 3)?

The Grid[1] is a chart in the DTA regulations used to decide whether or not you are disabled for EAEDC. 106 C.M.R. § 703.193(C)(5). The Grid looks at your age, education, and previous work history. The Grid is included as Appendix D to this Guide.

If you can do just sedentary work (a sitting job) but no more, the Grid will decide if you are disabled.

If you can do more than sedentary work and the Grid says you are disabled, DES will do an additional assessment. See Question 19.

If you cannot do sedentary work at all, you are disabled and the Grid is simply not used.

Example 1: Mildred White is 53 years old, never graduated from high school, but has basic reading and writing skills. She worked all of her life in a shoe factory doing unskilled work. She has a problem with her knee that prevents her from walking more than a few blocks at a time and she can not stand for long periods of time. She is able to do sedentary work, but not more than sedentary work. She has no transferable skills. Look up Mildred on the Grid and you will see that the Grid says she is disabled. Below is the relevant section of the Grid.

 

Age

 

Education

Previous Work

Experience

 

Decision

50-54

Less than 12th grade – at least literate

Unskilled or none

Disabled

 

Example 2: John Rossman is 48 years old and did not finish high school but can read at an 8th-grade level. He has worked off and on as an unskilled laborer until

he recently hurt his back. John can lift up to 10 pounds at a time, but no more than that. He cannot do manual labor but is physically able to do sedentary work. Look up John on the Grid and you will see that the Grid says he is not disabled. If John were illiterate or unable to communicate in English, he would be "Disabled" on the Grid. Below is the relevant section of the Grid.

 

Age

 

Education

Previous Work

Experience

 

Decision

45-49

Less than 12th grade- at least literate

Unskilled or none

Not Disabled

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Grid uses federal government data which analyze the range of jobs people could perform doing sedentary work. For a full explanation of how a sedentary grid is supposed to work, and for some very helpful background rules, read the Social Security Administration rules at 20 C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix II. (The SSA rules are not binding on DTA but the SSA explanations can be very helpful in applying the EAEDC grid.) https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-app-p02.htm


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