A Guide to Applying for Social Security Disability Over the Age of 50

Growing older has its downside, but when it comes to Social Security disability benefits, does growing older give you an advantage? In other words, is it easier to get SSDI if you are over 50?

With the Social Security Administration (SSA) denying a majority of disability claims, you want to take advantage of every break you can get. When you turn 50 years old, the break you have wanted has arrived.

The SSA considers the age of 50 to constitute an advanced age, which means it becomes much easier to qualify for disability benefits.

The key to taking advantage of turning 50 years old is to understand the importance of the SSA grid rules.

What are the Grid Rules?

Most of the rules followed by the SSA for reviewing disability applications involves a thorough examination of medical evidence. However, the federal agency has established other rules that most disability applicants do not know.

Most Social Security attorneys refer to the lesser known rules as the “grid rules” because the SSA established the rules over a five-column table. These rules focus less on medical evidence and more on an applicants age, education, and employment history.

The underlying principle of grid rules is easy to understand: Social Security disability rules after age 50 take into account the difficulty it is for older Americans to secure gainful employment.

As you turn 50, you can expect to find it more difficult to land a job, especially an entry level job. The less formal education you have amassed, the search for gainful employment becomes much more difficult.

The SSA has codified the employment and educational realities of turning 50 into the grid rules.

Social Security Disability Rules After Age 50

Is it hard to get disability at age 50? Although getting approved for Social Security disability benefits is difficult for the members of all age groups, turning 50 improves your chance of receiving financial assistance to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and daily expenses.

The SSA has established that it is difficult for older workers to find work, as well as adjust to a different type of career.
If you have reached 50 years old, you might find that Social Security rules after 50 might benefit you during the claim process.

Applying for Disability When You're Over 50

Is it Easier to Get Disability If You Are Over 50?

It is not just employment and education factors that make it easier for workers 50 years and older to receive approval for disability benefits. Social Security reviews after age 50 also require you meet a minimum threshold for work credits.

The longer you have worked, the more gainful income you have earned. SSA administrators refer to gainful income when calculating the number of work credits obtain over a designated period.

Disability benefits go to workers that held full-time jobs, but no longer can withstand the daily grind because of a disability.

The SSA Recognizes It Is Harder For Older Workers to Adjust to Other Work

What are the signs that you will be approved for disability benefits? The answer is collecting enough work credits, missing work for 12 consecutive months, and demonstrating that you suffer from a disability.

The SSA publishes a medical guide called the Blue Book that lists the qualifying disabling medical conditions for Social Security disability benefits. You also have to suffer from the types of severe symptoms that are associated with your illness or injury as well.

Nonetheless, older workers receive more favorable consideration for disability benefits. The SSA refers to the grid rules to determine whether worker at least 50 years old meet the eligibility standards for receiving financial assistance.

The SSA also lists four categories of functionality that is typically defined by how much weight you should be required to lift.

Sedentary work-No more than 10 pounds

Light work-Frequent lifting up to 10 pounds, as well as the infrequent lifting between 10 and 20 pounds

Medium work-Frequent lifting up to 20 pounds, as well as infrequent lifting between 20 and 50 pounds

Heavy work-frequent lifting of more than 50 pounds.

According to the grid rules, workers over 50 can get a break when it comes to the four categories of functionality. For example, workers between the age of 50 and 54 might qualify for Social Security disability benefits even if they can perform sedentary work.

How Education and Previous Work Experience Plays a Factor

Signs that you will be approved for disability also include education and employment factors. Based on your work experience, the SSA classifies you as skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled.

The more work credits you accumulate and if your qualify for semi-skilled or unskilled classification, the better your chances of getting approved for Social Security disability benefits.

The level of your education also plays a role in determining your eligibility for disability benefits. SSA grid rules break down education levels into four categories.

Level 1-Iliiterate or cannot communicate in English

Level 2-Limited education or dropout before 11th grade

Level 3-High school graduate

Level 4-Completion of a recent program that trained an applicant for a skilled job

The SSA also considers your previous work experience, especially when it comes to evaluating your performance. If you have developed job skills that transfer to another position, the SSA will consider allowing you to work the new job.

The bottom line is the fewer job skills that you have developed, the more likely the SSA approves your claim for Social Security disability benefits.

How to Apply for Disability

You can apply for Social Security disability benefits anytime by going online to the SSA website. Make sure you upload copies of your medical records and employment paperwork to support your claim. The more medical evidence you submit to the SSA, the more likely the federal agency approves your claim for financial assistance.

The SSA also offers a phone option at 800-772-1213. You have to call between 8 am and 7 pm. The COVID-19 pandemic has made applying in person difficult to do, as many federal government agency offices remain closed or operate during limited hours.
Make sure you have the following information when applying for Social Security disability benefits:

  • Proof of age
  • Social Security number
  • Contact information
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of every healthcare worker that provided medical care
  • Name and amount of prescription drug doses
  • Results of diagnostic tests
  • Laboratory results
  • Description of treatment programs
  • Prognosis of making a full recovery

Get Help from a Social Security Disability Attorney

Even if you have turned 50 years old, you might received a denied claim from the SSA. The grid rules should help you qualify at the age of 50, but there are not any guarantees that will happen. Working with a Social Security disability lawyer is the most effective strategy to boost your chances of getting your claim approved.

Your lawyer will examine your employment and education backgrounds to determine how to proceed with your case. A Social Security disability attorney is also there to help you gather and organize the medical evidence you need to win your claim.

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