Is Age a Factor in Social Security Disability Claims?

Date: 12:04:2020 | 58 article views

If you are thinking of filing a disability claim with Social Security, it is recommended that you first consult with your disability lawyers. By consulting your disability attorneys, they will be able to be involved with your case from the beginning which could help strengthen your disability case. It is common to have questions about filing a disability claim or what to expect after filing. Many times your disability lawyer will be able to answer those questions for you.

The following discusses a common question that many have when filing for Social Security disability benefits: does my age matter?

Does Age Matter When Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits

As your disability attorneys will tell you, when the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews your application for disability benefits they will take several factors into consideration. These factors are what will determine if you are entitled to receive either Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSI) or Social Security disability. Your age is one of the factors that will help decide which you receive.

Residual Functional Capacity

The SSA has broken residual functional capacities down into four categories that will help to determine what your physical limitations are on the job. These four categories are:

  • Sedentary work, which involves not being able to lift more than ten pounds at any given time.
  • Light work, which means that you are able to lift ten pounds, and no more, frequently and lifting no more than twenty pounds during the work day.
  • Medium work, which means that you are able to frequently lift twenty pounds and no more than the occasional fifty pounds throughout the work day.
  • Heavy work, which means that you are able to lift more than fifty pounds on a frequent basis during your work day.

Guidelines for Social Security Disability

The SSA has an established set of guidelines that your disability attorneys will likely be familiar with. These set vocational guidelines will help the disability examiners during their process. The guidelines that help decide are known as "the grid".

The Grid vs Your Age

The grid can influence your ability to get Social Security benefits, and your age is a factor that is placed into the grid. Other factors besides age that the grid uses includes your medical information, your skill level, education, and your residual functional capacity. The grid has age categories for disability applicants. They are:

  • Young individuals are from ages 18 to 44
  • Younger individuals are from ages 45-49
  • Individuals approaching an advanced age are ages 50-54
  • Advanced age individuals are from 55 and up
  • Retirement age individuals are from 60-65

These age groups are factored in with the other factors of the grid to decide if you would be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Does Being Older Help?

The grid seems to grant more favor to those who are in the approaching an advanced age classification. If those individuals applying for benefits are in that age group, can only perform sedentary work (or less), and have a limited amount of job skills, then it is more likely that these individuals will be approved for disability benefits. The grid, however, is much more favorable to those individuals who are over the age of 55. If a 55-year-old is able to perform sedentary or even medium-duty work, they may be more likely to receive benefits even if they do not meet other factors in the grid. The SSA does not expect an individual at an advanced age to be able to learn a new vocation for a job.

Disability Claims for a Child

If a person under the age of 18 is applying for Social Security disability benefits, they will likely not be assessed like an adult is. A person under 18 applying for benefits will be evaluated by the SSA based on the severity of their mental or physical impairment. The SSA has a different set of guidelines when it comes to determining the eligibility of children for SSI.