The rules for disability are easier when you are in your 50's

To some extent, the answer to this question is yes. In the U.S., the disability system is currently set up so that older individuals get some consideration for their age. For example, the medical-vocational framework of rules (known as the grid) makes it easier for individuals who are fifty and over to get approved versus individuals who are younger than fifty. The system also gets a little easier at age 55.

The reasoning behind this is very simple and logical: it's harder to transfer one's work experience as you get older. Also--and this is a real-world fact--employers are far less likely to hire someone at these ages mainly due to the cost of health insurance premiums (health insurance is a horrible mess in this country).

So, our system gives consideration for age and being older. Unfortunately, this may change, bumping the 55 age rules up to age 57. What difference would this make? It would mean that many individuals who would have qualified at age 55 would be ineligible until age 57.

How would that affect them? Already, many disability applicants slide into bankruptcy because the Social Security Disability process takes so long (up to 3 years depending on your state of residence). Therefore, a change in rules of this sort would literally be a catastrophe for many disabled individuals who seek disability benefits.


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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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