Is Age a Large Factor When Applying for Disability Benefits?

Yes, your age when you apply for disability benefits can have an important impact on your chance of obtaining benefits. Typically, the older you are when you apply for disability benefits, the greater the chance you will have on qualifying for them. Of course, every application is unique and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will go through its review process thoroughly before making a decision about your claim. Some of the main reasons why older people tend to have an easier time applying for disability benefits are outlined below.

You Need to Have Earned Enough Work Credits

If you are applying for disability benefits through the social security disability insurance (SSDI) program, you will need to show evidence you have accumulated sufficient work credits to qualify for benefits. You accumulate work credits when you work and pay social security payments in your payroll deductions. Basically, although the number of credits you need depends on your age, the older you are the more likely you will have worked for long enough to satisfy the work credit criteria for disability benefits applications.

Ability to Be Trained In Another Skill Or Job

When you apply for disability benefits, you must be able to convince the SSA’s assessors that you cannot continue working in the job you have been doing for at least the next 12 months. The SSA will want to know whether the disability you have still allows you to do some other kind of job and stay employed, even if you cannot do the same job as you have been doing. The older you are, the more likely it will be that the SSA will take your age into consideration when looking for alternative employment. The assumption is that when you are younger you may find it easier to get retrained or take on alternative work and that may make it harder for younger applicants to qualify for disability benefits.

Onset of Conditions

Your age may make it easier to qualify for disability benefits because you are statistically more likely to have developed a disabling condition. Some disabilities recognized by the SSA that occur more frequently in older people include arthritis, degenerative disc disease and dementia.

The older you are, the more likely that some conditions which slowly deteriorate with age are likely to cause you such pain or inconvenience that you can no longer continue working. At a younger age, the conditions may have been present, but not so advanced in extent.

Grid Rules

The SSA may use what are called the Grid Rules to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. The Grid Rules take into account your level of education, qualifications, training, age, skills and work experience. Grid rules are more likely to be used when you are over 50 years of age. The Grid Rules may be used in conjunction with a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment which can help determine whether you are able to do anything which allows you to be employed based on a series of physical and mental tests. Your doctor or a SSA examiner may complete an RFC assessment.

Get Help From a Disability Lawyer

It can be hard applying for disability benefits even if you are older, which can make it easier for you to qualify for benefits payments. If your application is denied or you are confused about the evidence you should submit with your application, it is best to work with a disability lawyer whose assistance can improve your chances of obtaining disability benefits.

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