We do not request reimbursement of costs
(such as repayment for obtaining medical records)
from veterans nor from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Social Security Disability Rules After Age 55

After Age 55, if you have become disabled and are older than 55, you need to act immediately. The Social Security Administration considers the 55-59-year-old age bracket as “advanced age.” Because of this categorization, you may be eligible for benefits that a younger applicant would not receive.

The SSA will begin by evaluating your work capacity and your impairing condition by closely evaluating your disability. If your disability matches or is “equal” to the criteria listed for a condition in SSA’s listing of impairments, you may be approved to receive benefits.

“The Odds of Winning Social Security Disability Over Age 55 Are In Your Favor”

Is It Easier To Get Disability After Age 55?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was established for a reason. It is a program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that helps those who need financial and other assistance because they are no longer able to work. Many people across the country, every day, suffer from a disability. Disabling conditions affect more lives than we realize. Fortunately, monthly disability payments can make a world of difference.

As stated, the SSA is the federal agency responsible for delivering these payments. Sadly, the SSA estimates that the average 20-year-old worker has a 25% chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

In other words, disability can hit when we least expect it.

Unfortunately, getting approved for benefits is hard. The SSA continues to deny the overwhelming majority of applicants on their first attempt. Older applicants, however, may have a better chance of being approved for benefits.

Social Security Disability Rules After Age 50

The SSA may also find that your condition does not meet the criteria listed in its listing of impairments. If this happens, you will be assessed based on SSA’s Medical-Vocational Grid, which will look at:

  • Work skills
  • Transferability of work skills to other occupations
  • Your work capacity and
  • Your education level

Your work capacity can also be called your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This basically determines what level of work you can still perform despite limitations caused by your condition. The most limited claimants can only perform sedentary work at best. The highest functioning claimants can perform very heavy work. This type of work includes lifting, moving, and manipulating very heavy objects.

Your RFC is also factored in with your skill level. You can be skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled, according to SSA’s grid. Applicants with lower skill levels and RFCs are more likely to receive benefits.

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.”

How Can Older Workers Apply for Disability Benefits?

Disability After Age 55

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.

Social Security Early Retirement age 55

Some of the most common questions we receive are about early retirement benefits.

Although SSDI rules become more favorable for claimants 50 years of age or older, the rules become even more favorable for people over the age of 54. This makes Disability Over 55 significantly more attainable.

Even so, many people disabled at age 62 choose to file a claim for early retirement benefits instead. Generally speaking, this is often a mistake because the Social Security system penalizes people who retire early.

By receiving Social Security Disability Benefits until retirement age, you can avoid these penalties. The process is not nearly as complicated for knowledgeable attorneys with experience in handling disability claims. In many cases, our lawyers can help clients 54 and older get approved on the initial application. Clients over age 55 may be even more likely to be approved without needing to appeal.

SSDI and SSI Benefits for People Age 60 and Older

Rules for disability are much more flexible for people who are applying for benefits and are 60 or above. One of the fundamental factors that determine whether they will be eligible for benefits or not is their inability to engage in work. Furthermore, people who are applying for disability at 62 will be given complete retirement benefits that they would be at a younger age.  This will be a strategic approach for people who want to attain their complete benefits. 

Even if you do not know the expected duration of your disability, you should apply because there are no penalties. Applying sooner rather than later may actually have numerous advantages.

At Chermol & Fishman, LLC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we are very familiar with Social Security Disability Over 55. Our lawyers handle claims throughout the disability claims process for clients in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We even handle federal appeals for individuals and clients of other law firms nationwide.

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