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How does age influence SSDI eligibility?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2017 | Social Security Disability

Each disability is its own case with its own distinctions. As applicants consider Social Security Disability Insurance, it’s important to remember there is flexibility to meet individual situations. Like most government entities, the rules are dense and precise. This doesn’t mean they follow a one-size-fits-all model.

One of the notable elements of SSDI is that age is a determining factor in the review and approval process. Generally, those under the age of 50 have the same considerations. There are more exceptions after the age of 50, and even more after retirement age (60 and above).

Different issues affect different ages

Why do those 50 or older have different rules? There are two primary reasons. One is that health declines with age. By definition, 50 is still years ahead of retirement age, but physical limitations begin well before that age. The second reason is the applicant’s ability to change careers. There is greater challenge to finding a new profession as one nears retirement age, whether for reasons related to a disability or because of personal history.

Two big questions

In determining eligibility for SSDI, the Social Security Administration asks two big questions:

  • Can you do the work you did previously?
  • Can you do any other type of work?

If a disability hinders these abilities, an applicant deserves consideration.

The ability to work and find work

Changing careers gets harder with age, so SSA has implemented a grid system to consider qualifications. Using internal carts, different combinations factor into eligibility. A medical issue may not qualify as a disability according to official guidelines, but if an applicant has specific education and employment history, they will be considered anyway. Lower education, highly physical work is more likely to apply, as these applicants find it harder to gain new employment later in life.

To recap, SSDI provides security for disabled workers, but it’s not based solely on a medical report. Instead, SSA considers one’s ability to work—whether at the applicant’s current job or in any field whatsoever. Age is a factor in finding new employment and adjusting to changes, so it is considered as well.

Expressing restrictions and limitations

The central idea with SSDI is that the applicant is unable to do work, thus requiring income assistance. Age is a factor because it can directly influence one’s job prospects, especially in combination with medical ailments or injuries. While it is easier for a 50 year-old to qualify for SSDI than it is for a 49 year-old, any application for SSDI assistance requires an accurate application and a detailed statement of your condition. An experienced attorney understands SSA guidelines and can help detail your language and evidence to express your restrictions to the deciding SSA.

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