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Is Age a Factor in Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

September 17, 2020

is age factor in ssd claimsThe short answer is yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has some basic age categories that are used to decide whether or not to award disability benefits. For instance, the SSA will look at someone's age as a determining factor if his or her medical condition does not meet their listing of impairments.

Below, Dayes Law Firm further discusses how age could impact your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. We know what it takes to receive an approval from the SSA. Learn more in a risk-free consultation. 

Medical-Vocational Guidelines

The SSA knows that the older one gets, the more difficult it is vocationally to adjust to a different line of work. Having a medical condition can no longer allow someone to continue working at their job. It can also affect one's ability to walk, lift, bend, reach or carry items.

This is why the agency established a set of medical-vocational guidelines to help with disability determinations. These guidelines are also known as the "medical-vocational grid" or "the grid" for short.

Residual Functioning Capacity

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) helps the SSA evaluate a person's physical ability to perform basic work functions, given his or her limitations caused by a medical condition. In other words, being able to perform sedentary, light, medium or heavy work.

Generally, sedentary work means lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time. Light work means lifting no more than 10 pounds on a regular basis and no more than 20 pounds on an occasional basis. Medium work means lifting 25 pounds on a regular basis and 50 pounds on an occasional basis. Heavy work means lifting more than 50 pounds on a regular basis.

Age Categories Recognized By The SSA

The SSA uses four basic age categories to determine disability benefits in addition to residual functional capacity, past work history and more. These include the following:

  • Ages 45 to 49 considered a younger individual – In some cases, a person can be deemed disabled between this age group if he or she is limited to sedentary work and has no job skills.
  • Ages 50 to 54 considered closely approaching advanced age – A person can be deemed disabled at age 50 if he or she is limited to sedentary work, has an education that does not allow for direct entry into skilled work, or lacks the jobs skills to transfer to sedentary work.
  • Ages 55 or older considered advanced age – In this age group, a person can be deemed disabled if he or she is limited to light work, has an education that does not allow for direct entry into skilled work, or does not have the job skills needed for light or sedentary work.
  • Ages 60 or older considered closely approaching retirement age – At age 60, a person can be deemed disabled if he or she has less than a secondary education, no work history, and are limited to sedentary work. A person with no education and an unskilled work history would also qualify.

The grid takes the age groups above and then considers additional factors to make a disability decision.

Why Being Older Helps

The bar is lowered to qualify for disability benefits once an applicant turns 50 years old and even lower at 55 years old, and so forth. If under 50, the SSA will generally not consider that your age will seriously affect your ability to adjust to other work.

Call for a Risk-Free Evaluation

If you need help with submitting a disability claim, a licensed Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is here to help. We offer a complimentary consultation allowing you the chance to ask any questions you may have about the application process without any risk or obligation involved.

There are no upfront fees. We only receive payment for our legal services if we help you recover benefits.  

Dayes Law Firm. Free Case Reviews. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.

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