How Being Over 50 Affects Your SSI Disability Claim
If you are between the ages of 50 and 65 you have a much better chance of qualifying for Social Security disability than younger individuals. This is because of the so-called “grid” rules. These rules are based on charts (or grids) that outline the requirements to prove disability based on age, education, and the skill levels of past work.
Generally, the older you are the easier it is to qualify for disability. For example, if you are 50 at the time of the onset of the alleged disability and you prove to SSA that (1) you are limited to sedentary (“sit down”) work and (2) that you are unable to perform the duties of your past work, and (3) that you have no transferable job skills that would qualify you to do other less strenuous work, you could win your claim automatically based on these “Grids.”
When you turn 55 it becomes easier to qualify for disability than someone 50 to 54, and when you turn 60 it is easier to qualify than someone 55 to 59.
Disability attorneys call this “gridding out” and we argue these rules all the time in disability Hearings. For all of my clients between 50 and 65 I first try and develop a winning case based on the grid rules.
However, even if you do not automatically qualify for disability based on the grids, you may still be able to win your claim. You and your attorney can usually do this by proving that because of your impairments you are unable to do your past relevant work, and that you are also unable and unqualified to perform any jobs that exist in substantial numbers in the local or national economy.