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When you turn 50, your age becomes an important factor in some Social Security Disability decisions. The disability standard shifts some and becomes easier when you turn 50. If you’re under the age of 50, Social Security considers you a “younger individual.” As a younger individual, you must prove your inability to perform ALL competitive employment to obtain benefits.
One example would be if you’re less than 50 years old and you suffer an injury that doesn’t allow you to perform the physically demanding work that you had performed previously, that fact alone is ordinarily not enough to allow you benefits under the Social Security Act. Social Security will determine whether your condition will allow you to do other work that exists anywhere in the United States in the national economy. Social Security won’t consider that it may be difficult to find such a job or that this hypothetical job won’t provide you with the same level of pay as your prior job. The issue, especially if you’re under 50, but sometimes even if you are over 50, is your capacity to do other work.
However, if you’re between the ages of 50 and 54, you are labeled as “closely approaching advanced age” (Social Security’s label – not ours!). If you’re unable to perform the requirements of work that you had in the 15 years before you become disabled, but could perform a much easier job, you may be considered to be disabled under Social Security’s Medical Vocational Guidelines, also known as the Grid Rules.
Social Security wisely assumes that it’s more difficult for you to perform physically demanding jobs as you age.
At ages 55 – 59 you are considered to be of “advanced age” and often the rules shift again and it becomes even easier to prove your disability. So, as you can see, one advantage to growing older is an easier standard to prove disability under Social Security’s rules.
No matter your age, if you need help with Social Security Disability benefits, call the experienced disability attorneys at Lachman & Gorton.