Winning Social Security Disability When You’re 50 or Older
When you turn 50, your age becomes an important factor in your Social Security Disability claim. The disability rules shift and become somewhat easier at age 50.
If you’re under 50, Social Security considers you a “younger individual.” You must prove your inability to perform ALL competitive employment to win benefits. This is often confusing and can be misunderstood when you have a disability claim.
Here’s an example: say you’re in your forties and suffer a back injury that leaves you unable to perform the physically demanding factory work that you performed for most of your career. Unfortunately, this is not enough to prove disability. The Social Security Administration will ask you if there is other work you can hypothetically perform. This includes less physically demanding “sit-down” work like answering phones or a typical desk job.
If it’s determined you could hypothetically perform a sit-down job, then you won’t qualify for disability. Social Security won’t care that it may be difficult to find such a job or that this hypothetical job will not provide you with the same level of financial support of your prior job.
However, if you’re between the ages of 50 and 54, you are labeled as “closely approaching advanced age” (Social Security’s label – not ours!). If you have not been performing seated work, and have no skills that transfer into this work, you are considered disabled under Social Security’s Medical Vocational Guidelines.
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The SSA will assume it’s more difficult for you to transition to physically demanding jobs as you get older. At ages 55 – 59 you are considered to be of “advanced age” and the rules shift again and become even easier to prove your disability. So, as you can see, one advantage to aging is an easier standard to prove disability under Social Security’s rules.
No matter how old (or young) you are, if you need help with Social Security Disability benefits, call us for help. We can help you apply or appeal if you were denied. Call Pilzer Klein today for help.