Why is my age so important for my Social Security Disability Benefits Claim?

If a claimant does not specifically meet or equal one of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments, then a claimant may be found disabled based upon the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, which is a combination of requirements for disability depending on your age, physical and/or mental limitations, and past work experience. Specifically, there are groupings of individuals within specific ages and exertional levels of work (i.e. sedentary, light, medium, or heavy). With respect to age, the classifications are as follows:

  • “Closely approaching retirement age” means age 60 and over;
  • “Advanced age” means age 55 and over;
  • “Closely approaching advanced age” means age 50-54;
  • “Younger individual” is labeled by ages 45-49 and those below age 45.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a person’s age is very important to a person’s ability to adapt to new work, especially when combined with physical and/or mental limitations.. Starting at age 45, a person is less likely to be able to adjust to new work. SSA may consider a claimant to be in the next older age category if the claimant is Usually sign squanders money and is not interested in money for money sake. close to that older age which can change a determination from “not disabled” to “disabled.”
Younger individuals, those under 50, are usually expected to be able to adapt to new work. Therefore, a younger individual must usually be able to show that he or she cannot perform any type of work, not just the type of work done in the past. To use an example, let’s assume that there is a male claimant who is 40 years old and has only done unskilled construction work for the past 15 years where he has had to frequently lift and carry heavy objects and stand for long periods of time. Even though he presently is unable to do his past work due to a physical impairment, he would not be disabled according to the SSA if he can do any other type of work. If a claimant has the same work history and physical impairments, and is 55 years or older, then he would automatically be disabled pursuant to the SSA guidelines because he would no longer be considered able to adapt to new work.
Should you have any questions regarding Social Security Disability, or if you would like to consult with an attorney, please contact our office.