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Special Disability Rules May Apply If You’re Over Age 50

Most people realize that Social Security Disability (SSDI) is available to those who cannot work. Not as many know that there are special considerations for older Americans, those age 50 and up. The older you get, and the longer you work, the more that disorders, illnesses, and injuries will be a problem. The Social Security Administration (SSA) understands that, and your age can therefore work to your advantage. Having a knowledgeable New Orleans Social Security disability benefits attorney is key to winning the assistance you need.

The “Grid Rules” And Why They Matter

After you apply for SSDI, the reviewer assigned to your case will consider your disability. That means comparing your symptoms to those listed in the so-called Blue Book listing of impairments. Being matched with an impairment helps, but you can still win disability if your condition does not match the listings. That’s where the “grid rules” come in.

SSA uses a series of complex tables that take four factors into account to decide if you are disabled. They are:

Residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is the most work you can do in spite of your physical or mental limitations. It takes information from your medical records into account to decide how much and how long you can work. The SSA will assign the disabled worker one of five “exertional” levels:

  • Sedentary
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy
  • Very heavy

Education. If you have less education, it will likely be easier to get disability benefits. The SSA will place you in one of these categories:

  • Literate or illiterate
  • Limited education or less (11th grade or below)
  • High school graduate or higher
  • Any recent education that trained you for a skilled job

Previous work experience. The SSA will review your past relevant work experience and assign one of the following categories:

  • Unskilled
  • Semi-skilled
  • Skilled

Transferability of skills. Finally, the SSA will decide to what degree your work skills from past jobs can transfer to new, similar positions. Disability is easier to win if the worker has fewer transferable skills. It’s also easier if it would take substantial training to acquire the necessary skills to work a new job.

How The Grid Rules Work After Age 50

The grid rules are complicated, so talk to a dedicated New Orleans SSDI benefits attorney to learn more about them. Generally, however, the rules weigh in the disabled worker’s favor once he or she reaches age 50.

Consider how age might affect your RFC. If you’re older, you could qualify for benefits even though you can work at one of the above exertional levels. Every case is different, but disability lawyers have observed these trends:

  • If you’re between age 50 and 54, you may qualify even if you can perform sedentary labor
  • If you’re between age 55 and 59, you may qualify even if you can perform light labor
  • If you’re between age 60 and 64, you may qualify even if you can perform medium labor

Older age can help with respect to the other factors as well, so check with a New Orleans disability lawyer. The SSA, for example, doesn’t just consider your level of education. It also takes into account how long it has been since you received it. Having limited or no work experience in the years before you apply will also help. And if you’re an older worker with fewer transferable skills, it’s more likely you will be awarded benefits.

Disability Is Complicated, But We Can Help

No matter what age you are, it’s critical to have someone in your corner who understands the disability application process. New Orleans residents turn to Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC, for their disability needs. We can help you request SSDI benefits or appeal an adverse decision by Social Security. Call us today to learn more about your legal options and to get started.

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