While people of all ages can suffer from disabilities and might apply for Social Security Disability benefits, age can play a factor when the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking over an application. To help with the Disability Determination process, the SSA has set up several age categories. Those ages 18 to 44 are considered young individuals. Those ages 45 to 49 are classified as younger individuals.
Ages 50 to 54 are applicants considered to be close to approaching advanced age. Individuals ages 55 and older are considered advanced age. Then, those who are 60 to 65 are considered approaching retirement age.
Why Does My Age Group Matter?
Social Security uses these different age groups along with residual functioning capacity (RFC) along with past work history and educational background to determine if an individual meets the requirements of being disabled. Being older helps an individual who is seeking disability benefits. If an individual is approaching advanced age, which means you are ages 50 to 54, the medical-vocational grid rules are much more favorable. If people from ages 50 to 54 are limited to sedentary work or even less and have a limited amount of work skills that can transfer, their chances of being approved for disability benefits increase significantly.
Here's a little more information on how you might be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits via a medical-vocational allowance.
How Age Impacts SSDI
If an individual is 55 or older, the odds are much more in his or her favor. If you are 55 or older and have limited to performing less than a full range of medium work, he or she might receive disability benefits even if he or she has a high school education and he or she does not have transferrable job skills. So, those who are 55 years of age or older have an increased chance of being awarded disability benefits based on the SSA guidelines. While people of all ages can be awarded disability benefits, the odds of a successful claim do increase with age. With that being said, individuals who apply for disability that are ages 55 and older do have a much greater chance of being approved for disability.
Grid Rules and SSDI
The SSA has a "Grid of Rules." These rules make the odds of being approved for benefits much better for those who are 50 and older. That means that the odds are generally favorable for those who are reaching advanced age or fall in the category of 50 to 54 years old. Grid rules were set to help determine eligibility for applicants who don't meet a medical impairment listing. So, with approach disability is determined using age, the RFC level ranging from sedentary to heavy work, education background, work experience and transferrable skills. Education comes into play because the SSA thinks the higher your education level, the easier it is for you to find work.
It is important that your treating physicians give an accurate opinion on your residual functioning capacity (RFC) and in addition to completing the questions on the form, the physicians should note any non-exertional limitations that you might suffer. These limitations might include forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. By fully understanding all of your limitations along with your age, skills, and educational background, Disability Determination Services will be more accurately determine if you are unable to work and eligible to receive benefits.
Individuals who are represented by a disability advocate or attorney may be much more likely to be approved for disability benefits. If you have questions about the disability claims process or the Grid of rules, consult with an attorney or advocate right away.