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Disability Rules for Ages 50+

Disability Rules for Ages 50+

As you age, your body becomes more prone to injury or illness. Although you can apply for disability benefits through Social Security Administration (SSA) at any age, SSA created special rules for older workers to make it easier for them to obtain disability benefits. These special rules are also known as “grid rules,” and they evaluate how disabled an individual is, regardless of his or her condition and diagnosis.

Grid rules exist because SSA believes older workers may have a harder time adjusting to a different type of work if they cannot perform the functions of the job the held when they became disabled. In such instances, workers may not be required to work a different job, even if they are physically able to do so.

The grid rules analyze 4 factors when determining your ability to switch to a different kind of work: 1) residual functional capacity (RFC); 2) education; 3) pervious work experience; and 4) transferability of skills.

Residual functional capacity considers if you are capable of pushing, lifting, walking, and standing. The less capable you are of doing any one of those things, the greater your chances of getting approved for disability benefits after age 50. There are 4 categories of functioning capacity that SSA uses when determining someone’s ability to work: 1) sedentary (does not involve lifting more than 10 pounds); 2) light (involves frequently lifting 10 pounds or less and occasionally lifting up to 20 pounds); 3) medium (involves frequently lifting 25 pounds and occasionally lifting up to 50 pounds); and 4) heavy (involves frequently lifting more than 50 pounds).

SSA breaks education down into 4 categories as well: 1) illiterate or unable to communicate in English; 2) limited educational level or less than 11th grade; 3) high school graduate or more; and 4) completion of a recent educational program that provided skilled jobs training. Again, the less education you have, the greater your chances of getting approved for benefits. Depending on your previous work experience, SSA will evaluate whether you have skills you could transfer to a new but similar position; fewer transferable skills increase your chances for disability benefits eligibility.

Despite their ability to make it easier for you to obtain disability benefits, grid rules can be complicated, and the assistance of a legal professional can make the process substantially easier. Contact a Social Security disability attorney today if you are 50-years-old or close to turning 50 to make the most of your disability claim.