Of all the definitions of disability that you may come across online, we will focus on the definition by the American Disability Act of 1990. Social Security's definition of disability is "The term "disability" means, with respect to an individual (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment."
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the factors that affect a person's ability to work go beyond their physical condition. This means that a person's mental conditions and medical condition can be a factor as well. The importance of education and skills, as well as age, when applying for disability claims, cannot be overstated. There is a high likelihood that older workers will not be able to return to school in order to train for a new position due to medical impairments or limited education, so they typically find it more difficult to become proficient in new skills. In the workplace, they are also subject to age-related discrimination due to their advancing age, mental impairments, mental health conditions, and medical impairments.
Adults between the ages of 50 and 54 are considered to be approaching advanced age for the purpose of evaluating initial applications for cash benefits when they are between these ages. The disabled beneficiaries who are 55 years or older are considered to be of advanced age, whereas those who are between the ages of 60 and 65 are considered to be close to retirement age.
Medical-Vocational Grid Rules
A set of rules developed by the Social Security Administration, known as the medical-vocational grid, serves as a guideline for functional disability examiners who are the official decision makers that evaluate the disability application for disability benefits, which are awarded in the form of cash payment. According to the grid, it is possible to determine whether the disability beneficiaries are disabled based on their age, their residual functional capacity (RFC); the presence and intensity of mental disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders; their skill level; and their educational background.
Education level and job skills are highly valued regardless of age, but older applicants are treated more leniently during the application process and are more likely to receive a favorable determination during disability reviews. For example, an adult between the ages of 50 and 54 who has an RFC which states they cannot work other than sedentary is considered disabled if they are a high school graduate with a history of unskilled employment. According to the disability criteria set forth by the SSA, if the same applicant were to apply for disability at 45 to 49, he or she would not automatically be considered disabled.
The Importance Of Legal Assistance
There is no doubt that if you are above the age of 50, it becomes easier for you to qualify for disabled-worker benefit payments. However, the process still remains lengthy and often mandates the need for a legal team to increase the chances of success and the benefit approval rates. The lack of appropriate documentation and medical records; complex disability criteria and eligibility rules; or the incorrect completion of paperwork can result in unnecessary delays in the entire process. Having an experienced attorney on your side during the disability determination process can ensure that you successfully complete the application process and get approved for your social security disability benefits as soon as possible all the while staying within the criteria for disability benefits or after an initial denial by the SSA. An experienced disability attorney can also help you navigate the appeals process in the event of technical denials or medical denials. Assistance from a disability lawyer does not have any upfront costs associated with it, as the SSA regulates the fees that attorneys earn from the back pay you receive once your application has been approved or you have received favorable decisions.
Applying for social security disability benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article about how to apply for disability benefits with scoliosis. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!