By Diana Wade
Disability Advocate 

Why age is a factor for disability benefits

Ask the Advocate

 

February 15, 2020

Diana Wade

The rules and regulations for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI) both use different age groups to determine disability. Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at your residual functioning capacity (RFC) along with past work history and educational background to determine if you will meet the requirements of being disabled. Being older helps an individual who is seeking disability benefits!

If your medical condition causes severe enough impairments to prevent you from maintaining gainful employment but does not meet the listing of any of the conditions that appear in the SSA's Bluebook, you may still be found eligible for disability benefits under a "medical vocational allowance".

While people of all ages can suffer from disabilities and might apply for SSDI and/or SSI benefits, age can play a factor when the SSA is looking over an application. To help with the Disability Determination process, the SSA has set up several age categories.


Those age 18 to 44 are considered young individuals. For them the world of work is open. Those age 45 to 49 are classified as younger individuals. For them the world of work is open...there are a few exceptions Ages 50 to 54 are applicants considered to be close to approaching advanced age. Individuals ages 55 and older are considered advanced age. Then, those who are 60 to 65 are considered approaching retirement age.

If an individual is approaching advanced age, which means you are ages 50 to 54, the medical-vocational grid rules are much more favorable. If people from ages 50 to 54 are limited to sedentary work or even less and have a limited amount of work skills that can transfer to some other job, their chances of being approved for disability benefits increase significantly.

If an individual is of advanced age, which means you are ages 54 to 59, the medical-vocational grid rules are much more favorable. In this category if you are limited to light work or even less and have a limited amount of work skills that can transfer to some other job, their chances of being approved for disability benefits increase significantly. Getting older has it advantages!

To establish eligibility under a medical vocational allowance, the SSA reviews your medical documentation to determine how your disability impairs your ability to perform everyday activities and to function on the job. Your capabilities are established in this manner. If the SSA determines you're unable to maintain gainful employment as a result of your medical condition, then you may be approved for disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance.


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Most people approved for disability benefits don't match a listed impairment perfectly. In fact, most people don't come anywhere close to suffering from the severe symptoms listed in the Bluebook. Instead, a medical consultant is called in to perform an independent evaluation of medical documentation to determine if the claimant's specific symptoms and other medical details meet the general impairment requirements for receiving disability benefits.

Functional limitations noted in your medical records play a BIG role in determining your claim and can establish a medical vocational allowance for disability eligibility purposes. This is the reason that thorough and detailed medical records are so crucial to a successful disability claim.

An Accredited Disability Representative with more than 20 years experience, Diana Wade believes her clientele can be comfortable knowing that she is recognized by SSA and is a charter member of NADR. To contact Ms. Wade call (661) 821-0494, email [email protected] or visit http://www.CaliforniaDisability.net.

 
 

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