Disability Benefits Over 50

What You Need To Know About SSI & SSDI Over 50 Benefits

As we age, life becomes more difficult. Previous jobs are no longer as easy. Our bodies deteriorate, our memories fade, and we generally experience more trouble with everyday tasks. Although these aspects of aging are never fun, there are certain benefits.

If you or someone you know is struggling with disability or work inability, it’s time to act. Not all applicants qualify, but many older Americans do receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

These forms of social aid can be of significant assistance in the lives of older applicants. That’s why many people elect to file SSDI Over 50 Claims. Other people, with more limited income and resources, will pursue SSI Over 50 Claims.

In some cases, applicants may qualify for both types of disability claims.

It’s important to recognize that disability criteria become less strict as we age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that it’s more difficult to find work, and effectively work, when you’re older.

The SSA also recognizes that disabling conditions can become more severe.

Whereas younger applicants may have to prove more severe disability and work inability, older applicants typically do not have to prove such conditions. Elderly claimants can become the beneficiaries of increasingly laxer rules.

Generally, the older the applicant, the easier the criteria.

However, this does not mean that the SSA will simply approve an applicant because he or she is old and struggling. The SSA still relies on a complex network of criteria and determining factors. The SSA does not make the process ‘easy’ simply because of a person’s age.

Nonetheless, there are certain undeniable advantages for older claimants. If a disability claimant understands this system, and its rules, that claimant may be more likely to receive SSI and SSDI.

However, this does not mean that the SSA will simply approve an applicant because he or she is old and struggling. The SSA still relies on a complex network of criteria and determining factors. The SSA does not make the process ‘easy’ simply because of a person’s age.

Managing Disability Over Age 50

The best way address the effects of disability over the age of 50 is to pursue disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will first determine if an applicant over 50 meets a specific disability listing. Some applicants are disabled, but fail to meet a listing.

If you fail to match a listing, you can still qualify for Social Security Disability Over 50.

When an claimant does not meet a specific disability listing, and cannot perform past work, the SSA will turn to ‘The Grid.’ This term refers to a series of medical-vocational tables that help calculate an applicant’s disability status.

Based on this grid, the SSA will either determine a person over 50 “disabled” or “not disabled.” Applicants who are aged 50 to 54 years old are initially classified as “closely approaching advanced aged.”

The SSA will apply special rules to this age-group classification in order to make a disability determination.

When making the disability determination, the SSA looks at a number of nuanced factors.

Benefits For Over 50 Year Old applicants are approved based on four important considerations:

  • educational history,
  • established work skills,
  • transferable skills; and
  • residual functional capacity (RFC)


The SSA puts a lot of emphasis on the last consideration, RFC. One’s RFC is based on an assessment of what an applicant can, and cannot, realistically due in the workplace. The RFC of an applicant is determined by a disability claims examiner working alongside a medical consultant.

The consultant is typically an employee for the Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is a state agency that works for the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The consultant helps to determine the level of exertion of which an elder applicant is capable. The consultant will also help determine what kind of job restrictions are necessary for the applicant.

Generally, the medical consultant references medical records and physician notes in order to determine an applicant’s RFC.

There are typically five exertion levels that can appear in a disabled claimant’s RFC.

RFC Exertion Levels

Sedentary work – a worker cannot lift more than 10 lbs at one time, and can infrequently  lift and carry files and minor tools. The sedentary work requires occasional walking and standing, but is mostly sitting.

Medium work – a worker can lift up to 50 pounds at one time, and can frequently lift or carry up to 25 pounds.

 Light work – a worker can lift as much as 20 pounds from time to time, but can frequently lift and carry 10 pounds. The work involves frequent walking and standing, and requires that the worker push and pull with the arms or legs.

Heavy work – a worker can lift up to 100 pounds at one time, and can frequently lift or carry up to 50 pounds.

Very heavy work – a worker can lift more than 100 pounds, and can frequently lift or carry 50 pounds or more.

For each progressive level, the worker is determined to be capable of all previous exertion levels. If the RFC indicates an exertion level of “Medium Work,” the applicant is reasonably expected to be capable of medium work, light work and sedentary work.

The RFC also details non-exertional restrictions, such as stooping, finger use, and the use of mental faculties.

Workers with emotional and neurological restrictions may be unable to perform jobs for which they are physically qualified. For instance, a worker may be able to lift substantially but unable to remember simple instructions.

The disability claims examiner evaluates an applicant’s past 15 years of work history to determine what type of work can reasonably be performed.

The SSA will also look at one’s skills and the transferability of those skills. A vocational expert (VE) will help in these determinations. The VE will classify your prior job as one of three skill levels: (1) skilled, (2) semi-skilled, or (3) unskilled.

Many applicants can use medical conditions as a reason that skills are not transferable. Even if an older applicant performed a previous job at a certain skill level, current disability restrictions may prevent transfer.

Applicants should be completely honest in descriptions of past work. If an applicant embellishes previous work, the SSA may determine the applicant capable of higher levels of work. This, in turn, may disqualify the applicant from certain benefits.

It is important that disability claimants also provide complete and full details regarding past employment. These details include job requirements, daily tasks and duties, and extenuating circumstances.

The SSA will also consider educational history.  Applicants who never completed high school may be able to get benefits that high school graduates cannot. It is critical that applicants are as specific as possible in their disclosure of educational and vocational histories.

For disabled claimants seeking Disability Over 55, application mistakes can be costly. Because applicants at this age are considered of “advanced age” by the SSA, it is important to truthfully represent all facts. Older applicants should seek the help of a certified disability attorney.

With the assistance of a good lawyer, applicants over the ages of 50 and 55 can prove the disabilities and limitations required to receive disability benefits. If you need help with benefits over 50, contact Khattar Law, LLC today.