If your condition does not match a Blue Book listing, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may use GRID Rules to evaluate if your condition prevents you from performing past relevant work and earning a living. This article is designed to help you understand the Grid Rules and how they may apply to your situation. Through use of this special set of rules, many disabled people who are unable to work and earn a living, but whose condition does not meet the criteria of a listing can be approved for disability benefits.
When Do GRID Rules Apply
The GRID Rules only apply when you have physical limitations that prevent you from working. This approach considers if you can perform any past work duties, and if you are capable of performing sedentary, light, or medium work.
Sedentary work is a job requiring little physical activity, such as bookkeeping or receptionist work. Light duty may require you stand on your feet a few hours and perform minimal physical activity. Medium duty work may require lifting 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently, so it requires more physical work.
Understanding Skill Level
There are different skill levels for work. As an example, unskilled labor usually do the traditional daily production tasks that do not depend on skills or technical abilities. They perform basic duties in a factory. Skilled workers have had special training, special skills, and knowledge they apply to their work.
These workers may operate specific machines. Some work skills are transferrable and can be used on other jobs, such as problem solving, analytic skills, critical reasoning, and leadership responsibilities. Non-transferrable skills are not beneficial to other jobs and examples include cash-flow planning in an accounting job. An individual with transferrable skills will most likely be able to perform some other work according to the SSA.
The Importance of Age And Education
In general, the older you are then the better chances you have at having your disability claim approved. However, the SSA believes the higher your education level, the easier it is to find work and get another job that you are capable of performing.
Using a medical vocational allowance, or GRID rules, includes taking your age and educational background into consideration. They will consider your age, work history, transferrable skills, educational background, and other factors into consideration when determining if you qualify for disability benefits.
Past Work Experience
The SSA will review the work you have done in the past, considering job titles and work responsibilities. This will help the SSA determine if you can perform some other kind of work. You will need to provide a detailed work history for at least the last 10 years.
The disability examiner will review the details of your work history and then determine if you can perform any of those former work duties or if those skills can be transferred into another job role. If you can use those skills for another job, then you will not be considered disabled, and your claim will not be approved. To be approved for disability benefits, you must show that you cannot work at all and are uncapable of earning a living.
Residual Functional Capacity Form
The residual functional capacity form (RFC) can play a major role in your claim being approved. The RFC is completed by a treating physician and will detail what you can and cannot do. As an example, if you have a back problem the RFC may indicate you are unable to bend or squat, you are unable to lift more than 5 pounds, and require frequent rest breaks. This will help show the disability examiner what you can and cannot do and that you are unable to work and earn a living, so your claim is more likely to be approved.
Using The Grid
You need to understand how the GRID Rules apply to a disability claim. It can be a complicated process. There are many different GRIDS that can apply to a disability claim. As an example, rule 201.04 applies to advanced age, which is 55 years and older.
It indicates if a claimant is of advanced age, high school graduate or more that does not provide direct entry into workforce, and has previous unskilled work history, then he or she would meet the criteria to be disabled.
Rule 201.15 refers to individuals closely approaching advanced age, which are between 50 and 54, and who are a high school graduate or more but does not have an educational background specifically providing entry into skilled work and he or she has skilled and semi-skilled skills that can be transferred, he or she would not be disabled, and their claim would not be approved.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If your initial application for disability benefits has been denied, you should file an appeal as quickly as possible. Your denial notice should explain why your claim was denied, so you can gather supporting evidence that shows you are unable to work.
You may want to enlist the help of a disability lawyer who represents clients in your area. Ask for a free case review, so you can determine the best way to proceed with your claim and if you are likely to be approved for disability benefits.
Get Help with GRID Rules
If you are unable to work because of a medical condition and would like to learn more about how the GRID rules could apply to your claim, a disability attorney may be able to help you. Just because your medical condition does not meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing does not mean that you cannot be approved for disability benefits.
A disability attorney knows the applicable laws and what documentation is needed to help you get your claim approved. Complete the Free Case Evaluation form today, so you can get connected with an independent, participating disability attorney who subscribes to the website.