Social Security Counseling Center

Is Age A Factor In Social Security Disability Claims?


Yes, age is a factor in most social security disability claims. Social Security looks at age as a significant factor if the disease or medical condition of the claimant does not meet a Listing. At the age of fifty, the bar is lowered for a claimant to qualify for benefits. The bar is lowered further at the age of fifty-five. At age 55 to 60, vocational adjustment is another regulation that offers guidance that further eases the burden of proof.

What Are The Listings?

The listings are the medical criteria that will automatically qualify a claimant without any consideration of age, past work, skill level, or education. The severe medical condition itself will allow the claim as long as each element of the specific medical condition is met. The listings are posted on the Internet at the Social Security website. Just enter medical listings in the query box and the 14 categories of Listings will come up corresponding to each discipline of medicine (cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, neurological, oncological, mental, etc.).

How Does Being Older Than 55 Assist In Qualifying For Medical Benefits?

Social Security realizes that as age goes up, the ability to adjust to new or different types of work becomes a disadvantage for someone with a medical condition that will no longer allow them to continue working at their usual job. It affects their abilities to walk, lift, bend, reach, carry objects, etc. The concept of vocational adjustment applies as mentioned above. In order to find a person 55 or older capable of doing other work there should be very little vocational adjustment in terms of work settings, tools, work processes, or the industry.

What Are The Age Categories Recognized By The SSA?

The Social Security Administration recognizes basically four categories of age. The younger individuals are usually up to the age of forty-nine. The closely approaching advanced age are those that are fifty to fifty-four. Advanced age applies to the folks 55 to 60, and finally, closely approaching the retirement age are those who have reached age 60 or above. As mentioned before, as you rise in age, the burden of proof to show disability becomes less and less.

What Is The Grid?

The grid basically is taking the age groups mentioned above, and then adding additional factors that will automatically dictate a decision of disabled or NOT disabled. These factors include the claimant’s education, ability to communicate in English, ability to lift and carry items of different weights, and the ability to stand and walk.

Have There Been Any Changes To The Listings?

The Listings are required to be updated periodically. In the past year, the listings governing cancer, pulmonary diseases, and neurological diseases have been substantially modified. On January 17, 2017, the Listing governing mental conditions and diseases will be substantially modified.

It is highly recommended that you contact the Social Security Counseling Center as soon as possible for a thorough discussion of your condition and how it has affected not only your ability to work, but also your life itself. Call us now for a no cost consultation, and specifically for guidance on how, when, and where you should file your claim. Do not proceed on your own. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at your side each step of the way will be a major plus as you go through this difficult and complicated process. The time to talk to us is BEFORE you file your claim. Have a plan BEFORE filing. Mistakes made at the beginning of your claim will follow you through the entire process. A no cost consultation is a no brainer.

It is always smart to DIAL BEFORE YOU FILE. For more information on Age & SSD Benefits, call (248) 281-4247 or (844) 560-4909 (toll free) for your free no cost, no obligation, phone consultation. Let me put my 40+ years of experience in social security law to work for you.

Social Security Counseling Center

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