How to Use Grid Rules

If you’re unable to work because of a disability, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA offers financial assistance to disabled individuals to help them cover the costs of their basic needs.

Various factors can influence how easy or difficult it is to receive an approval when applying for disability benefits.

For example, if you’re at least 50 years of age, you may receive an approval more easily than a younger person due to the SSA’s “grid rules.”

The following overview explains what grid rules are and how you may use them when completing an application for benefits.

What Are Grid Rules?

The SSA must confirm an applicant is genuinely unable to work before approving an application. This doesn’t merely involve confirming they can’t fill any previous jobs they’ve held.

It also requires confirming an applicant would be unable to fill a different job.

Grid rules apply when a person 50 years of age or older applies for benefits. Said rules account for the fact that an older person may have more difficulty learning new job skills than a younger applicant.

Grid Rule Factors

Age is just one factor determining whether grid rules influence the SSA’s decision to approve or deny an application for benefits. Other factors the SSA may account for in these circumstances include:

  • Education level
  • The degree of skill an applicant’s past work required them to possess
  • Whether the applicant can learn or has developed other skills that might allow them to fill a different job
  • Residual functioning capacity (RFC)

An applicant can demonstrate their RFC through the RFC form. This is a form an applicant may complete with the help of a doctor.

Its purpose is to show that an applicant’s physical limitations prevent them from working.

How To Use Grid Rules

The SSA may apply grid rules by referring to certain charts to determine whether an applicant meets the criteria to qualify as disabled.

A grid rules chart will feature a column for education level, a column for skill level, and a disabled/not disabled column.

For example, for an individual between the ages of 50 and 54 who may or may not be able to perform sedentary work, if their education column indicates limited education and their skills column indicates they have limited skills that are not transferable to another job, they may qualify as disabled.

On the other hand, if their skills column indicates they have skills that are transferable to another job, the SSA may determine that they are not disabled.

Get Help With Your Claim

Grid rules could theoretically improve your chances of receiving an approval when you apply for Social Security disability benefits. However, showing that grid rules apply in your case may be a complex task.

This is one of many reasons it’s wise to consider enlisting an attorney’s help when applying for benefits.

A lawyer could explain whether grid rules will affect your application, and they could assist you in demonstrating this if necessary. For more information about what a disability attorney can do for you, take the free case evaluation today.