That may sound harsh, but it does mean that special rules apply if you’re filing for Social Security disability.
When you apply for disability, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides that your condition doesn’t meet a disability listing and you can’t do your past job, they will then refer to what is called “grid rules” for anyone age 50 and older to decide if you are disabled.
What is this grid? It’s basically a series of tables that takes into account several factors before determining if you are disabled or not. SSA categorizes people who are age 50 and older as “closely approaching advanced aged.” That’s a polite way of saying we’re all getting up in years!
If you are 50 to 54, limited to sedentary work, have a high school education, cannot do your previous employment of the last 15 years and have no transferable skills, you are disabled.
Here’s an example: A 53-year-old woman applies for disability based on diabetic neuropathy. She has a high-school education. Her used to work as a seamstress. SSA determines that she had the RFC to perform sedentary work; however, although her seamstress work was skilled, she didn’t have any transferable skills. Therefore, the grids found her to be disabled and she was approved.
If you are age 55 or older, limited to light work, have no more than a high school education, cannot do your previous employment of last 15 years and have no transferable skills, you are disabled.
An example: A 56-year-old man applies for disability because of mild emphysema. He has a 10th grade education and worked his whole life as a waterman. SSA finds that despite his emphysema, he still has the RFC to do light work but has no transferable skills. He is approved under the grids.
If you are age 50 or older are denied at initial application and Request for Reconsideration, file a Request for Hearing and get legal representation. Your representative can make sure that your situation is being determined based on all of the rules as they apply to you. What you can do on your end is detail your education and work history. These are very important, as is the medical evidence for your claim.
Robert L. Heller has practiced law in Ohio for nearly 40 years, devoting his entire career to helping disabled people in the Mahoning Valley to pursue needed benefits. A native of Warren, Ohio, Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He also studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice in Ohio state courts, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as well as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).