Disability Grid Rules for Older Adults

As we age, diseases occur more frequently. Our body’s resistance to disease decreases and we are more likely to suffer from certain serious conditions as we grow older. As a result of these age-related problems, many people are unable to work. Many people become disabled by the age of 50.If you are under 50 years of age, the Social Security Administration will treat you as a “young person.” Whether you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after the age of 50 depends on the applicant’s accumulated work credits. The SSDI program is intended for those who have accumulated enough credits through qualifying work history. 

As we all know, this is an age when relatively manageable diseases can become bigger problems. Therefore, if your physical condition limits your ability to work, you should review the special Social Security Disability rules for people over the age of 50. 

For effective representation of your disability application, you should contact the Disability lawyer who people trust to get the job done right. A lawyer can assist you throughout the entire process. Continue reading to learn more about Social Security disability rules.

Benefits are approved based on two key factors

There are generally two ways to qualify for disability benefits: approval based on the Blue Book listing or approval based on medical vocational allowances. The Blue Book is a listing of medical conditions that the SSA has recognized as disabling and the criteria that must be met to obtain benefits. 

The listing  describes precisely what test results or symptoms you need to qualify.  Approval through a medical vocational allowance is based on an assessment of how much work you can do in spite of your impairments. 

A Medical Vocational Allowance relies heavily on “grid rules,” which are a series of yes or no questions that can help determine if you are eligible. Once you are over the age of 50, it is much easier to be approved through the grid rules. The SSA is more lenient about the amount of work you can still do if you are older.

Social Security Disability rules after age 50 require an assessment of a person’s degree of disability regardless of their medical status and diagnosis. This assessment helps to determine whether you can do any other type of work or if your conditions are limiting to the extent that you are unable to work in any capacity. 

  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) – Residual Functional Capacity or RFC assesses the amount of strength-related work you can perform in spite of the limitations imposed upon you by your medical conditions. It considers whether you can walk, push, lift, and stand effectively in a workplace setting. The lesser the ability, the greater the chances that you will be eligible for disability after age 50. The SSA categorizes capacity by ability: sedentary, light, moderate, and heavy. 
  • Previous Work Experience: Your last job is another factor used by SSA to determine your eligibility. Based on previous work experience, applicants will be divided into skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled. If they have less experience, their chances of earning an income will be lower. If they are  less capable and can only do light jobs, their eligibility for benefits will increase. 

You should follow the disability laws

In certain situations, special rules for people over 50 might apply. If you are 50 years of age or older and are applying for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration realizes that older workers may have more difficulty adjusting to a new type of work. 

When you can no longer perform your regular job duties, the SSA may treat your application more favorably if you are a worker over the age of 50.  The criteria is somewhat relaxed because older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with disabling conditions. 

In some situations, people over 50 may not be assessed for their ability to adjust to a new type of work and may be eligible for Social Security disability. 

For example, if you are between 50 and 54 years old, you can receive a disability allowance even if you can still do sedentary work. If you are between the ages of 55 and 59 years old, even if you can do light work, you may also be eligible. 

Again, this is because SSA eligibility rules are sometimes more favorable to older workers. After all, it is often more difficult for older workers to adapt to new work types than younger workers.

Some medical conditions may qualify directly

The SSA believes that after the age of 50, it is far more difficult to be retrained for different employment. This means that if you have a limited job history and a physically disabling condition, you may be able to receive benefits that a 25 year old applicant would not. 

 The following are diseases that may make you eligible for SSDI:

  • Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Breast cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Kidney Failure
  • Knee replacement
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Liver Cancer
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Lumbar Stenosis

People with disabilities over the age of 50 will have to abide by the SSA’s regulations. If you need assistance, you can contact Illinois Social Security Disability attorneys. They will help you take the right steps. Our legal team has extensive knowledge and experience with handling disability cases for older adults. They have successful legal strategies to win complex claims.

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