As we age, life becomes more difficult. Previous jobs are no longer as easy to perform. 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 a disability or the inability to work, it is time to act. Not all applicants will qualify, but many older Americans receive SSI and SSDI benefits to financially support them when they are no longer able to work.
These forms of aid can be of significant assistance to older applicants. As people age, their bodies become more prone to injury and illness. That is why many people elect to file SSDI Over 50 claims or, for those with more limited income and resources, SSI Over 50 Claims. Some applicants may qualify for both types of disability benefit programs.
The criteria to qualify for disability benefits become less strict the older you are, but the rules are complicated regardless. Very few people know the complexities of Social Security Disability Rules after age 50. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that it is more challenging to sustain employment as you age because your physical and mental abilities deteriorate but that does not mean proving your inability to work according to their rules is easy.
Criteria for younger applicants may differ than older applicants because the SSA also recognizes that disabling conditions can become more severe over time. Younger applicants may have to prove more severe disability, whereas older applicants may meet criteria based on age. Generally, the older the applicant, the easier it is to qualify for benefits; however, this does not mean that the SSA will simply approve an application based on age alone. The SSA still relies on a complex patchwork of rules and regulations that makes the process difficult regardless of age.
The best way to secure yourself financially if you have a disability over 50 years old is to pursue disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will first determine if an applicant has a specific disability listed in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSA’s listing of impairments that are considered severe enough to keep an adult from maintaining gainful employment. Some applicants are disabled but do not meet Blue Book criteria. While this may add some additional requirements to your application, you can still qualify for Social Security Disability Over 50.
When a claimant does not meet a specific disability listing and cannot perform work for a period of time, the SSA will apply Medical-Vocational Guidelines, which is a series of federal regulations, colloquially referred to as “the grid rules” or simply “the grids.” The grids are a series of tables that say when applicants are disabled or not-disabled, based on their residual functional capacity (RFC), age, education level, skill level of their past work, and whether they learned any skills in their old job that they could use in a new position.
The SSA will either determine whether a person over 50 is disabled or not based on the grid rules. Applicants aged 50 to 54 years old are classified as “closely approaching advanced aged.” The SSA will apply special rules to this age-group classification to assess disability. When making the disability determination, the SSA will apply several factors before making a final determination regarding entitlement to disability benefits.
It is essential to understand the rules of disability over 50 program before applying for benefits. A qualified attorney will explain every detail of the process and can assist you with a successful application for benefits.
Benefits for Over 50-Year-Old Applicants are Approved Based on Four Important Considerations:
The SSA puts a lot of emphasis on RFC. The 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), a state agency that works for the Social Security Administration. The DDS will consider your ability to meet the physical, mental, sensory, and other requirements of work.
The consultant will also help determine what kind of job restrictions are necessary for the applicant. All evidence in your record will be considered, including medical records, when determining an applicant’s RFC.
If a person has an impairment which does not meet the criteria of the Blue Book but otherwise prevents the person from working, the SSA must decide whether he or she can do other work. The very first step in determining whether someone is “disabled” or can perform other work is to determine what level of exertion they can still perform, despite their disabilities. The SSA’s rules state that limitations may be exertional, non-exertional, or a combination of both. Limitations are classified as exertional if they affect your ability to meet strength demands of particular jobs. The SSA has adopted the United States Department of Labor’s classification of jobs by various exertional levels (sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy), which classify strength demands for sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling.
For each level of progressively greater exertion, the worker is determined to be capable of all previous exertion levels. For example, 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 considers non-exertional restrictions, such as stooping, finger use, and the use of mental faculties.
In addition, 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.
A disability claims examiner then evaluates an applicant’s 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 also help in these determinations. The VE will classify previous jobs as one of three skill levels:
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 might prevent the transferability of those skills now.
Applicants should be sincere when describing past work but should not overstate the level of activity it entailed. If an applicant embellishes previous work activities, the SSA may determine the applicant capable of other less difficult types of work now which, in turn, may disqualify the applicant from certain benefits.
It is essential that disability claimants also provide complete details regarding past employment. These details include job requirements, daily tasks, and recurring duties.
The SSA will also consider educational history. Applicants who never completed high school should not be considered capable of performing alternative occupations beyond their education levels. That is why applicants must be as specific and honest as possible in their disclosure of educational and vocational histories.
For disabled claimants seeking Disability Over 55, application mistakes or omissions can be costly. Applicants should seek the help of an experienced disability attorney who will help them submit all the relevant facts the first time.
With the assistance of a good lawyer, applicants over the ages of 50 can prove the disabilities and limitations required to receive disability benefits. If you need help with obtaining disability benefits over 50 years of age, contact Khattar Law, PC today.