When evaluating a disability claim, the Social Security Administration categorizes the age of the claimant into one of four groups:
- Young (18-44)
- Younger (45-49)
- Nearing an advanced age (50-54)
- Advanced age (55-60)
- Retirement age (60-65)
The older you are, the more likely the SSA approves your claim based on your disability and your educational and work experience. While there is no set “disability age”, individuals over 55 who file for SSDI are much more likely to be approved than younger claimants.
What is the Medical-Vocational Grid?
The SSA uses their Medical-Vocational Grid (MVG) to determine eligibility for disability benefits according to your age, education level and skill level. The “grid” also takes into account your residual-functional capacity (RFC), or ability to do physical work. For example, if you are 57 years old, can only perform sedentary work due to your disability, have a high school diploma and worked solely in construction throughout your life, your MVG/RFC scores would likely indicate you are eligible for disability payments. The SSA understands that at your age, it would be difficult for you to learn new skills necessary for sedentary work.
Why Might SSA Deny a Claim Based on Education and Skill Level?
Rachel is 48 and has a bachelor’s degree in business accounting. For 20 years, she worked for a large bank as their primary accountant. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 47 due to the death of her husband, Rachel applied for Social Security disability. SSA medical evaluators did not find that her psychological issues were severe enough to prevent her from finding work similar but less stressful than being an accountant to a large business. Consequently, they denied her claim, stating her stable physical health, educational level and positive response to medication precluded her from being eligible for disability.
If your initial disability claim has been denied or you need immediate assistance with filing for Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Fred London Law Office today.