Is it easier to get disability if you are over fifty?

Under the current rules for Social Security Disability and SSI disability, it can be easier to get disability benefits if you are over fifty because the medical-vocational rules used to guide disability determinations are more favorable.

How are the rules more favorable? They take into account the fact that, at certain ages, an individual will have more difficulty transitioning to other types of work. With this recognition in mind, an older claimant with a particular profile (age, education, past work demands, and current functional restrictions) may be able to win disability benefits, whereas a younger individual with a similar profile may not.

For example, a person who is 55 and whose past relevant work is medium (the exertional limits for medium are the ability to lift fifty pounds occasionally and twenty-five pounds frequently) may be approved for disability benefits if the social security administration determines they are only capable of performing light work (light work is the ability to lift twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently). This would not be the case for a younger individual.

If you are over the age of fifty, when should you file for disability benefits from the social security administration? As soon as your condition prevents you from being able to work and earn a substantially gainful income.


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About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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