Does being older help my chances of being approved for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Vocational Guidelines
Social Security has a set of vocational guidelines to help disability examiners in their decision-making process. These medical-vocational guidelines have become known the grid rules.
How the Grid Rules Affects Your Disability Benefits
How do the grid rules and my age affect my ability to receive Social Security disability? The grid rules taken into consideration factors such as age, skills, and education, in addition to your residual functional capacity.
Social Security has set up age categories to assist with the disability decision process. Individuals who are 18 to 44 are considered young individuals, those 45-49 are "younger" individuals, those 50-54 are considered to be closely approaching advanced age, individuals who are 55 and over are considered advanced age, and individuals 60-65 are considered closely approaching retirement age.
Social Security utilizes these age groups, as well as the individual's residual functional capacity, the skill level of their previous jobs , and their education to establish an individual's disability. For example, if you are 45-49, with a limited education, and SSA finds that the most you can do is sedentary work, you would most likely be denied disability per the GRID rules . But if you are over 50, have a limited education, and SSA finds that the most you can do is sedentary work, you will likely be granted disability. The GRID rules tends to help those that are older.
How Being Older Helps Your Claim For Disability Benefits
The medical-vocational grid rules are favorable to individuals ages 50 and older. For example if you are between the ages of 50-54, are limited to sedentary work or less, and the previous work skills you’ve acquired dont transfer to other types work, then you will likely be approved for disability benefits. Social Security does not expect those ages 50 and older to go through a lot of vocational adjustment to learn a sedentary job when they are approaching advanced age.
The grid rules, however, are mostly favorable to individuals who are 55 and older. If an individual is 55 or older and let’s say SSA finds that they can do a light duty job at most, they may likely approved for disability even if they have a high school education and their prior work was either unskilled or the skills they acquired from their previous work are not transferable.
These are just examples. Even if you do not fit the medical-vocational guidelines aka Grid Rules, there is still a chance that your disability claim is winnable.
Its always best to contact an experienced lawyer for assistance. Our office is happy to provide a free consultation.