SSDI Benefits for Those Over Age Fifty

terri-december-week-2-img-ssdi-benefits-seniors According to the rules established by the Social Security Administration, whenever an individual applies for Social Security Disability Insurance they are required to have their physical or mental capacity to work assessed.  This is so that a reasoned decision can be made as to whether or not the condition that spurred the application truly prevents them from being able to work. These assessments are known as Residual Functional Capacities, or RFCs, and they are completed by a disability claims examiner. The examiner’s decision will be based upon a thorough analysis of statements provided by your physician, as well as your medical records. Upon reviewing this information they will make a determination about what activities you are able to do and what you cannot do as a result of any limitations caused by your physical or mental state. This process is universal, but is not the sole basis upon which the decision about eligibility for SSDI benefits for those over the age of 50 is made.

For those who are between the ages of 50 and 54, there is an additional step that may mean that you are able to qualify for benefits that you would not have been eligible for if you were younger. The Social Security Administration has established what are known as “grid rules” that are used for this age group because it is classified as “closely approaching advanced age”. The grid looks at what the exertional levels are of the work that you once did, the level of your education and the transferability of your skills, as well as what the RFC reports about your capabilities. Applicants who are between the ages of 50 and 54 need only look at the appropriate grid for the type of work that their RFC indicates they are able of doing, then locate their educational level on the grid and the skill level of the job that they had before they became disabled.  When they find the appropriate line, they can see whether Social Security will consider them disabled or not.

Though the grids are useful for assessing whether a person over the age of 50 will be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance there are also other options and strategies available, even if the grid indicates that you will not qualify. There are certain limitations, such as not being able to use your fingers, that may override the eligibility grid. Other limitations can include the inability to bend down or to concentrate. Exceptions are also made for those who never achieved more than a sixth grade level of education and who have worked for at least 35 years in extremely laborious work. In this case you may be able to take advantage of what is known as the “worn out worker” rule. Finally, if you are very close to turning 55, the claims board may decide that you qualify for the older age grid, which provides you with greater eligibility.

For assistance in interpreting the various Social Security rules and regulations, or in preparing your claim, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Erik B. Jensen & Associates. We have a record of success in helping our clients get the disability benefits that they need and deserve.