If you are unable to work because of a medical condition and you are older than 50, special rules apply. When you apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), one of the main things that is considered is whether you can return to the same kind of work that you did in the past or if you can adjust to performing some other kind of work.
The SSA does recognize that for older workers it might be more challenging to find some other kind of work to adjust to and do regularly. Because of this, workers who are older are treated more favorably during the disability application process.
The Different Categories of Functioning Capacity
The SSA uses four categories of functioning capacities when determining work abilities. Generally, these categories are defined by the amounts you are required to lift during your work day.
- Sedentary – The lightest work duty it does not require lifting more than 10 pounds.
- Light – This work involves lifting 10 pounds or less on a frequent level and no more than 20 pounds occasionally.
- Medium – The worker will frequently lift 25 pounds and occasionally lift 50 pounds.
- Heavy – This is a job requiring frequent lifting of more than 50 pounds.
Usually, older workers get a little more of a break even if they can perform at some level of functional capacity. Disability Determination Services (DDS) might determine that because of the worker’s age, he or she might not be able to adjust to a new kind of work and might be approved for Social Security disability.
As an example, claimants between the ages of 50 to 54 might be able to perform sedentary labor, but they might be approved for disability benefits despite that because they might not be able to adjust to the new kind of work. Those ages 55 to 59 could be eligible if they could perform light duty work and depending on the circumstance, those ages 60 to 64 might be approved for disability benefits even if they are found able to perform work on a medium duty level. In addition to medical conditions and restrictions, age, educational background, and work history are all considered.
The Odds of Being Approved for Benefits
It is much more challenging for a younger person to be approved for disability benefits. As an example, for someone younger than 40, the criteria of a medical listing must be met precisely. To go the medical-vocational allowance route, you will need the help of an experienced disability attorney. Your odds of a successful claim increase significantly with a lawyer. An attorney will be able to go over your file and make sure you have the proper hard evidence in order, so your claim can be properly reviewed.
Consult With a Disability Attorney
If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, schedule your free case evaluation with a disability attorney today. Your odds of being approved for benefits improve significantly when you have legal help on your side.