How Your Age Effects Your Application For Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

Many people have questions about how their age would affect their application for disability.  Some people have heard that it is harder to get disability the younger you are. This is true.

There is a five step process to determine if a Claimant is awarded disability benefits. To prove that you are disabled and entitled to Social Security Disability benefits you must show

1. You are not working.

If you are working in 2016 and your earnings average more than $1,130 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.

2. Your condition must be “severe.”

To be considered “severe” your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities.

3. Does you “severe” condition meet a listing?

For each of the major body systems, the Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. For each condition you will normally have to produce medical labs, test or other evidence that is required by the individual listing.  The conditions that meet a listing can be found here

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/listing-impairments.htm

If you meet a listing then you are awarded disability and the analysis stops there. If you do not meet a listing, you must proceed to the fourth part of the Social Security Disability Analysis.

4. Can you do any work that you have done previously?

If, given your limitations caused by your severe condition, you can still perform any work that you have done in the past, your claim will be denied. 

If you cannot do any work that you have done previously, you must proceed to the Fifth and final part of the Social Security Disability Analysis.

5. Can you do any other work in the national economy?

If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the burden of proof shifts to the Social Security Administration to show that their are other jobs in the national economy that you can perform given your limitations.

The Social Security Administration  considers your medical conditions, what you are functional capable of doing, your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If there are other jobs that exist in the national economy that you can adjust to, your claim will be denied. If given all those factors, no jobs exist that meet those criteria, you will be found disabled.

In these cases, the Social Security Administration will first make a determination on what level of exertion you can perform at in a work environment. The categories are divided from the least level of exertion to most. The category is as follows:

Sedentary work. Sedentary work involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools. Although a sedentary job is defined as one which involves sitting, a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met.

(b) Light work. Light work involves lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent

     lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds. Even though the weight lifted may be

     very little, a job is in this category when it requires a good deal of walking or standing, or 

     when it involves sitting most of the time with some pushing and pulling of arm or leg     

     controls. To be considered capable of performing a full or wide range of light work, you must

     have the ability to do substantially all of these activities. If someone can do light work, we

    determine that he or she can also do sedentary work, unless there are additional limiting

   factors such as loss of fine dexterity or inability to sit for long periods of time.

(c) Medium work.Medium work involves lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time with frequent

     lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds. If someone can do medium work, the

     Social Security Administration will determine that he or she can also do sedentary and light

     work.

(d) Heavy work. Heavy work involves lifting no more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent

      lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 50 pounds. If someone can do heavy work, the

     Social Security Administration will determine that he or she can also do medium, light, and

     sedentary work.

(e) Very heavy work.Very heavy work involves lifting objects weighing more than 100pounds at

     a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing 50 pounds or more. If someone

     can do very heavy work, the Social Security Administration will determine that he or she can

     also do heavy, medium, light and sedentary work.

Once the Social Security Administration has made a conclusion on your level of exertion, they will then correlate it with the GRID chart with your age, education, level, and past work and make their decision whether you are disabled or not.

The GRID rules are comprised of age, education, and past work. This is because your physical abilities are not the only factor in determining your disability. Generally, the older and less educated you are the more likely you will be found disabled. The social security office  has specific ages and categories in which they place you according to your age.

18-49 years of age is considered to be a “younger individual”;

50-54 years of age is “approaching advanced age”; and,

55 and older is “advanced age” according to the Social Security Administration and the GRID rules.

To view the GRID go to:

https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-app-p02.htm

Find which category you fall under listed above by your age.

Next consider your education, are you “limited or less”, “high school graduate” or “high school graduate and more”.

Then, determine whether your previous work experience was skilled, unskilled, transferrable, or non transferable. Skilled or unskilled means-did you have a special skill needed to perform your job. Transferrable or non transferable mean-can the experience be carried with you to a new job.

If you would like to speak with a lawyer regarding your social security disability case, please call Venus Poe at 864-963-0310.

The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.