A number of factors are considered when determining if someone is eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, but age often plays an important role. Generally, applicants over age 50 are more likely to be approved for SSDI benefits than younger individuals.
How Age Affects a Disability Application
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that there are more factors than a person’s physical condition that affect their ability to work. Education and skills play a crucial role, as does age. Older workers do not have the time to go back to school to train for a new position and typically find it more difficult to master new skills. They also face age-related discrimination in the workforce.
For the purpose of evaluating SSDI applications, adults age 50 to 54 are considered to be approaching advanced age. Applicants age 55 and older are considered advanced age, while those who are 60 to 65 are considered approaching retirement age.
Medical-Vocational Grid Rules
The SSA has a set of rules known as the medical-vocational grid that are used to guide disability examiners in evaluating applications. The grid uses a person’s age, as well as their Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), skill level, and education to determine if they are disabled.
While the grid places a high value on education and skills regardless of age, the rules become more lenient for older applicants. For example, an adult age 50 to 54 is considered disabled if they have an RFC stating they can only do sedentary work but are a high school graduate with a history of unskilled work. However, the same applicant would not be considered automatically disabled at age 45 to 49.
The Value of Legal Assistance
Although it becomes easier to be approved for benefits if you are over age 50, the process is still extensive. Insufficient documentation or incorrectly completed paperwork can cause unnecessary delays. Working with an experienced attorney can ensure you are approved for benefits as quickly as possible. There is no upfront cost associated with legal assistance since attorneys are paid fees regulated by the SSA from the back pay you receive once your application is approved.
Do You Need Assistance Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you need assistance obtaining Social Security disability benefits, our experienced disability lawyer can help. Please contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.