Age Matters: Social Security Disability Favors Older (50+ years old) Workers
Does age matter when filing a Social Security Disability claim? Yes it does. Here are the four categories that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses when evaluating age:
“Younger Individual”— Ages 18 to 49;
“Closely Approaching Advanced Age”— 50-54;
“Advanced Age”— 55-59
“Closely Approaching Retirement Age”- 60-65
The three factors most often used to evaluate a claimant’s case other than medical condition are AGE, education, and work experience. Let’s look at an example.
Two construction workers suffer similar, severe back injuries. They are both unable to lift anything heavy and in fact are limited by the injury only to the physical ability to do easy, sitting-down , “sedentary” work.
Comparing the age,education and work experience of the two construction workers who can only do “sedentary” work:
Worker A: 48 years old. Can speak and write English. No skills other than construction work. High School Graduate.
Decision by Social Security: NOT Disabled- (Regulation 201.18)
Worker B: 50 years old. Can speak and write English. No skills other than construction work. High School Graduate.
Decision by Social Security: Disabled- (Regulation 201.12)
SSA’s regulations would grant benefits to the 50 year old, but not to the almost identical 48 year old. Why?
The regulations state that “Individuals (50 and over) may be significantly limited in vocational adaptability….(if they have) no transferable skills…” (Regulation 201.00 g.)
Translation? SSA doesn’t expect 50 year old and older workers to learn a new trade or skill that would allow them to work a sedentary (physically easy) job. But it does expect those under 50 to do so. Hence, the bias in favor of 50 and over workers.
It is much easier to win if you are 50 or over, period.
So, when you contact a Social Security attorney such as myself, the first question they will ask you is: How old are you? Because age really does matter in the world of Social Security Disability Claims!
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