If you are younger, can you get disability Benefits?

We recently entertained the question of age and applying for disability. The specific question was "Can a younger person receive disability benefits?" And by this, its inferred that we are discussing both Social Security Disability as well as SSI disability.

The answer, of course, is yes. A younger person can qualify for disability. As a former disability examiner, I can state that the cases that routinely crossed my desk spanned a wide range of ages, including children (for minor age children, SSI is the program to apply under), adults in their twenties, thirties, and forties, and, individuals in their fifties and older.

And of them, sizable percentages of claimants who were younger than fifty were approved, either on the basis of meeting or equaling a listing (for more on this, read Social Security Disability list of impairments) or by the granting of a medical vocational allowance.

Certainly, the medical vocational rules (used by disability decision makers when attempting whether or not a medical vocational allowance can be granted) tilt more favorably toward those who are fifty and older, and again more favorably toward those who are fifty-five and older.

However, in every single case, the primary determinant of whether or not a claimant is approved or denied, is whether or not they satisfy the social security administration definition of disability.

So, the answer to the question is, yes, a young person can be approved for Social Security Disability or SSI. But, as with all cases, the determination will come down to A) what is in the medical records, B) what the claimant's functional limitations (which can be either mental or physical in nature) are, and C) how these functional restrictions affect the ability to work---work being defined as past work and whatever suitable forms of other work may exist.

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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