It is common for older Americans to develop certain illnesses and age-related diseases. The conditions can cause many individuals to reach a disabled state by the age of 50 years old. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers the age of 50 as an “advanced age” for the purpose of determining disability.
It has become widely accepted that 50 is the age when otherwise benign health problems can develop into more serious conditions. Many people do not realize that it gets easier to seek and qualify for disability benefits after the age of 50. This is especially the case if they have a medical condition that limits their ability to work or if they have more than one medical condition.
The amount of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits individuals receive after 50 is based on the work credits accumulated in their work history. The SSA acknowledges that it can be more difficult for older people to learn new job skills or transition to a new work environment, referring it to as making a “vocational adjustment.” To account for this difficulty, there are special rules that apply to disability programs for people over 50. This includes a particular set called the “grid rules.”
The grid rules, also called the “grids,” are a way individuals can get approved for disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance. The SSA usually only uses the grid rules after it has been determined you are unable to do the jobs you performed in the recent past. The following factors are used to determine if an individual is disabled:
The SSA’s final decision is a combination of all the factors that come under grid rules. The SSA regularly appoints vocational experts who can testify with regard to the individuals’ vocational capabilities in a work setting and transferability of skills from a previous occupation to a new one.
When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA will assess your medical condition to determine if it serious enough to prevent you from performing any kind of meaningful work. Therefore, it is a good idea to check whether your condition is listed in the SSA’s blue book.
It is helpful to have a knowledgeable lawyer review your application before you submit it. An experienced lawyer can help determine your likelihood of being approved for disability benefits and discuss all options with you.
The age of 50 is when many rules change for disability benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer understands the ways it can be easier for individuals over 50 to get the SSD benefits they need at that age and will work with you to increase your chances of getting approved.
It is also important to keep in mind that even if your medical condition does not make you eligible for disability benefits, you may be able to seek approval in other ways. Individuals who have impairments that are not related to physical capacity, such as mental health issues, may be able to get approved for disability beyond the guidelines of the grid rules. People with more than one medical condition can also get approved more easily for disability.
The grid rules are provided to help the SSA determine how disabled an individual is, regardless of their medical condition and official diagnosis. An experienced lawyer will know how to help you obtain financial assistance through all available avenues.
It is quite common for applicants in any of the above situations to initially be denied disability benefits and need to file for reconsideration and if denied again, file an appeal. Many applicants have to appeal decisions more than once before successfully getting approved for disability benefits. In these cases, it is wise to hire an experienced lawyer to assist with your matter.
If you are an older worker who has become disabled, you may have a better chance at getting the benefits you need than you realize. A Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer at Galfand Berger LLP can handle any potential appeals or other issues that may arise. It is important to have the proper legal guidance in order to receive the full benefits you need in a timely fashion. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.