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Social Security Disability Rules After Age 50

Last updated: November 18, 2023

If you have not yet reached retirement age, but your health issues prevent you from working, it may be a good time to start looking into disability benefits. Sometimes, life doesn't go as we plan it —  you may find that you don't have enough money to retire. This is where SSA comes in.

Support is available for individuals in your exact circumstance. Social Security disability benefits provide monthly payments to assist you in meeting your financial obligations and maintaining a secure lifestyle. You can even calculate your Social Security disabilities to see how much you stand to earn. 

Obtaining disability benefits after the age of 50 may be easier since unique restrictions apply when you reach a more experienced age in working. Keep reading to learn how the SSA evaluates applications and what provisions you can get depending on your age. 

How Does SSA Evaluate Disability Applications

When Social Security assesses disability benefit applications, it categorizes applicants into the following age groups:

  • Younger Person (18-49): Your troubles must prevent you from working at all.
  • Close to Advanced Age (50-54): To qualify for disability benefits, you must be unable to perform the duties of your most recent work.
  • Advanced Age (55 years and older): Social Security becomes more tolerant in determining whether you can continue working.

The advantage of qualifying for disability after the age of 50 is that Social Security considers you less likely to change careers at this age. This increases the likelihood that Social Security will determine you are unable to work at all — and will approve your payments.

Social Security Disability Rules After Age 50 You Need To Know

While applying for SSD after the age of 50, you must keep the following in mind. These are special rules that will apply to your case. 

  • If you intend to claim disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will evaluate your medical condition. If the Social Security Administration judges that your condition is severe enough to preclude you from performing meaningful employment, your chances of being accepted for disability payments will almost certainly increase.
  • Prior to applying, you should determine whether your condition is recorded in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book. It may be useful to have a lawyer analyze your application before submitting it to the Social Security Administration. They can assist you in determining whether applying for disability benefits makes sense for you or whether you should pursue other avenues.
  • Numerous rules regarding disability benefits alter beyond the age of 50, and it can be considerably easier for individuals to obtain the SSD benefits they require at that age. If your medical condition precludes you from receiving benefits, you may still be eligible for financial aid through other means.

SSD Rules According To Your Age Bracket

According to the Social Security Administration, about 156 million people were granted SSDI benefits because of long-term impairment, and about 8.2 million people became disabled after 50 years of receiving benefits.

Claimants Aged 50-54

 If you are over 50 and have a debilitating condition that prevents you from performing the type of work you previously performed, Social Security will consider your age while determining whether or not you can perform other work. As a younger individual, Social Security applies a more stringent definition of disability to you. At this age, disability is defined as the inability to perform any job in the national economy.

Claimants 55-60 Years Old 

When a claimant is between the ages of 55 and 60, the SSA will consider the claimant's age, prior work experience, education level, and competence in less physically demanding work. If you have major health difficulties, you may initially be eligible for disability compensation. Additionally, the SSA often selects vocational specialists who can vouch for an individual's ability in a job environment.

Claimants Above 60 

For claimants above the age of 60, disability restrictions are more lenient. Individuals with impairments are more likely to receive the benefits they require if they are unable to work. 

The Social Security Administration's determination may boost your chances of receiving full Social Security retirement payments. Benefits are payable if you reach the age of 62 and are entirely retired. This may enable you to obtain larger retirement benefits rather than settling for decreased payments at a younger age.


In accordance with SSA regulations, a claimant must prove that they are not capable of performing any form of employment due to their disability. As someone applying after the age of 50, you are allowed a lot of relaxation. 

If you’re 50 years old or above, and feel as though you qualify for disability, check out NJDCC’s resources on how to file for disabilities

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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