Seavey V. Barnhart


At Step 5, SSA bears burden to come forward with evidence showing that there are jobs the claimant can do despite limitations. Since SSA is not represented as a litigant, it is better to think of Step 5 not as a shifting of burdens, but as a rule that the claimant is not under any obligation to produce evidence at Step 5. If an essential factual issue has not been resolved and there is no clear entitlement to benefits, the court must remand for further proceedings rather than order award of benefits. Court should order payment of benefits rather than remand only in the unusual case in which the underlying facts and law compel only one conclusion and SSA has no discretion to act in any way other than to pay benefits (i.e., where there is overwhelming proof of disability).