When it comes to social security disability benefits, age DOES matter! But, we have good news. If you have medical evidence to prove that your disability has a direct affect on your daily functioning, regardless of your age, then you are as much eligible for the SSDI benefit as any other person.
Why Age Matters in Winning SSDI Benefits?
American jobs have become increasingly saturated with the workplace demanding people with certain mindsets and bodies to become eligible for vacancies. It is due to this reason that social security administration has a certain RFC measure for people who may 'seem' okay but have disabilities that give them a disadvantage at finding work in the highly competitive American market. Although your chances of getting approved for disability significantly decrease after retirement age, your chances could increase if you can prove to the SSA that your disability is indeed preventing you from taking up certain kinds of semi-skilled and skilled work. Otherwise the SSA would assume that you have become unable to take up previous jobs due to your age.
How Residual Functional Capacity Forms Could Make You Win Your Disability Case?
If you have Residual Functional Capacity and doctor's statements supporting your case, then you have a high chance of getting approved for the disability benefits.
Rules for Social Security for 50 and above
When you're approaching 50 and the SSA decides you don't meet the conditional criteria under the Blue Book of SSA, then they may refer to the grid rules for 50 and above. This is ofcourse when your vocational expert and disability examiner rule out the possibility that you could find past work.
The Grid Rule
The grids are a set of tables that use several indicators to point out whether a claimant is disabled enough or not. However, the grids are only one way, and not the only way, to determine your eligibility for disability benefits if you're between age 50 and 55.
With that said, the Social Security Administration has categorized people in the age group 50 to 54 as 'closely approaching advanced aged'. For each age group, the SSA has listed out exertional levels, i.e., the amount of work they could take up, given their physical and mental conditions, market demands and competition, etc.
Take for example, if a claimant is 50 years old and limited to unskilled sedentary work by a vocational expert while filing for disability, the disability examiner would assume that they could perhaps find other jobs within their 'present capabilities' and that they are not 'disabled enough' to being able to not find any work at all. Hence, a vocational expert's statement in whether or not you could find previous or new work could make or break your disability claims case alone. Likewise, if a claimant filed for SSDI benefits at 48 due to being limited to 'unskilled sedentary work' but who has not been able to find it even after two years, then they may be granted disability benefits at age 50.
Similarly, as claimants reach retirement age (55 to 60 and above), they would have an increased chance of winning disability with proper medical and non-medical evidence. For instance, a claimant limited to unskilled light exertional work is presumed to be unable to transition to other work.
Yet, even if the grids rule deny your disability, you could still refer to other underlying medical circumstances that prevent you from daily functioning. Take for instance, a claimant has an inability to use his/her fingers. In that case, no matter the condition of the rest of their body, they could not take up exertional or sedentary work. Hence, under such non-exertional limits, you could still qualify for disability even after being rejected under the grid rules.
Another such example of getting disability circumventing the grid rule for 50 and above has been illiteracy. One such case would be if a claimant, whose past work had been of a laborer, has been determined by a vocational expert being unable to perform heavy physical work. However, even if they have been determined to be able to perform 'office work', he is still unable to find work due to inability to read or write. Hence, they would be able to win disability benefits.
Find an Attorney for Disability Benefits
The grid rules are a good way to proof your disability application and minimize the risk of rejection in the first place. However, even if you have been denied disability and you fall within 50 to 54 age bracket, you could find legal help with our professional disability attorneys to work outside the box of grid rules and get you your rightful disability benefits. For legal advice, you can contact us here.