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Social Security Disability Rules After Age 50

How Can Workers Get Compensation By Knowing the Special Rules For Disability Over 50?

The Social Security Administration’s disability program plays a crucial role in providing financial strength to applicants and their family members. The Social Security Administration (SSA) grants disability benefits to people over 50 years of age if they can follow a certain set of rules and meet specified criteria. The SSA revealed that, as of June 2013, more than 8.9 million disabled workers received disability benefits, with an average monthly benefit of $1,129.

If you are a person over 50 and want to apply for disability benefits, knowing essential rules can be helpful. In general, the SSA treats older workers more favorably. Getting approved for disability benefits at the age of 50 or older can be a relatively hassle-free process.

What Are the Criteria That Determine the Disability for People Over 50?

Disability Rules After Age 50 Administered by the SSA, the Social Security disability programs deliver regular monthly payments to those in need. These payments can vary based on a variety of factors. However, all payments have one thing in common; the SSA determines the exact amount based on a strict set of criteria.

The criteria that the SSA has established for individuals to qualify for benefits differ between the two programs.

  • The first program is called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and it is designed to benefit disabled workers.
  • The second program is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and it is designed for people who have limited financial means.
  • Both programs rely on the same strict definition of disability.

As we age, we inevitably become more susceptible to serious health issues. Many people in their 50s will begin to encounter problems relating to their health or mobility. Disability onset can be either slow or swift, and it can be both daunting and crippling. Fortunately, Social Security for those over the age of 50 is available for qualified applicants. People in their 50s have better options now than ever before. If you or someone you know is over age 50, help may be available for you.

The SSA has now made applying for disability over 50 programs even easier. These changes reflect an increased awareness of the unique needs of an aging population.

Special Rules for Disability Over 50

The SSA’s new framework is more realistic and beneficial to those who apply. It gives people who are 50 years old or older more opportunities to qualify for disability benefits.

If an individual does not meet the criteria set forth within a medical impairment listing, the SSA uses a grid of rules to determine an individual’s eligibility for disability benefits. Every applicant should understand the Social Security disability rules after age 50 that the SSA generally takes into consideration. The SSA will consider the claimant’s age, as well as four specific aspects of the claimant’s comprehensive profile.

These essential applicant factors include the following:

  • Residual functional capacity (RFC), which is the maximum work that an individual can perform despite their limitations
  • Education level
  • Prior work skill level
  • Transferability of prior work skills

The factor that the SSA weighs most heavily in many cases is the claimant’s RFC. RFC takes into account the applicant’s ability to work and exercise strength. These exertional limits are determined based on what type of output the applicant can achieve consistently, not just intermittently.

RFC levels range from sedentary work and light work, all the way up to heavy work and very heavy work. Some RFCs only allow for sitting down and typing. Others may determine that a claimant can perform work that involves heavy lifting and strenuous movements.

4 Categories of Functional Capacity for People Over 50

There are four levels of functional capacity into which the SSA classifies applicants. They are generally determined based on the amount a person is able to lift. The four categories are:

  • Sedentary, which involves lifting less than 10 pounds
  • Light, which involves lifting 10 pounds most of the time and up to 20 pounds occasionally
  • Medium, for which 25 pounds is the limit for frequent lifting and up to 50 pounds is the limit for occasional lifting
  • Heavy, which involves frequently lifting more than 50 pounds

The SSA usually analyzes all of these variables to determine how it should classify each applicant. For people over 50, the medical-vocational grid may be more lenient. This is because the SSA categorizes people who are 50 to 54 years old as “closely approaching advanced age.

Social Security Disability Review After Age 50

It can be easier to obtain SSDI or SSI benefits after the age of 50. Typically, the rules generally become more favorable for applicants as they get older. The SSA bases its evaluation of applicants on the individuals’ capacity for “gainful” employment, which can often decrease as people advance in age.

In some situations, an applicant’s disability may closely match one of the SSA’s explicitly listed disabilities. If an individual can satisfy one of these listings, they are considered to have a disability that the SSA formally recognizes. Each disability that the SSA officially lists is considered a “medically determinable impairment.” Many people over 50 may have such an impairment.

Applicants for Social Security disability over 50 can also “equal” a listing, depending on how their condition affects them. If the applicant’s combined impairments are as severe as a listed condition or even more severe, then the impairments are considered to be equivalent. Applicants may also have a single impairment that is the equivalent of a listed condition.

However, things are not always so easy for those individuals who seek disability benefits. In many cases, applicants do not have a matching or equal condition. If this is the case, the SSA usually relies on the medical-vocational grid.

Is It Easier to Get Disability Benefits After 50?

Yes, it can be easier to qualify for disability benefits as you get older. Especially after age 50, it becomes simpler to satisfy the eligibility requirements. This is because, with age, an applicant’s working years will also usually increase. For certain types of disability benefits, eligibility can be determined based on the applicant’s earned work credits. This factor can take you one step closer to qualifying for the SSDI benefits you deserve. 

Applicants who want to pursue SSDI benefits must be unable to work full time, and their disability must have prevented them from engaging in any meaningful work for at least a year. The work requirements specify that an applicant must have at least 40 Social Security credits to become eligible for SSDI, in addition to having a history of paying the related Social Security taxes to earn those work credits. On average, in one year, a person can earn up to four work credits.

How Can Older Workers Apply for Disability Benefits?

If you want to learn more about applying for disability benefits after age 50, you can visit the SSA’s official website to read up on the medical-vocational guidelines, or “grid rules.” The SSA’s grid rules are a special set of guidelines against which the SSA evaluates the degree to which an individual may be disabled.

When you are ready to apply for disability over 50, applications are available on the SSA’s website, or you can visit your local Social Security office to get a copy. Be sure to prepare all of your paperwork, both medical and financial, beforehand to ensure the smoothest process possible.

If you have any questions about the application process, you can seek assistance from representatives at the Social Security Office. You can even consider enlisting an experienced legal professional for help with your case.

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