Mester, Grabow & Miller, LLC a Hartford Connecticut law firm

Mester, Grabow & Miller is a general practice law firm based in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Disability over 50 - how social security rules impact individuals over 50 years old

Are you over 50 years of age? If so did you know that the rules that determine if you are eligible for social security disability are different and more favorable for individuals who are over 50 years old?

The national average for winning a disability hearing is 43% as of July, 2015. If you are over 50 years of age the rules governing social security disability shift in favor of the older claimant.  When social security examines your case they are trying to determine if your condition, your age, education, and past work will allow you to continue to work.

Prior to turning 50 you are put in the same category as a 17 year old. Your ability to adapt to new work, transfer your skills and knowledge base are all considered to stay equal to your abilities as a 17 year old until you turn 50 years of age.  At 50 the social security regulations recognize a change in your ability to start a new career or learn a different skill. This makes a substantial change in your chances for being approved for disability benefits.

Whether you are 50 or 17 the first thing social security determines is if your condition meets a listing. Meeting a listing means your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working regardless of age, education, or work experience.  Social Security has an actual list with descriptions of how a condition can meet the severity to cause disability.

If your condition does not meet a listing social security will determine if you could return to similar work you did in your past.  If you cannot return to the work you did prior to your disability social security will look to a set of employment guidelines created to help aid disability examiners called the medical-vocational guidelines. These guidelines are often referred to as ‘the grid’ because the guidelines are illustrated in a table.

Anyone under 50 is defined as a ‘younger person’ according to social security regulations. Anyone aged 50-54 is defined as ‘closely approaching advanced age’ and now the claimant’s age is also considered in the determination for disability.  Limited work experience and education make it even more likely for a claimant over 50 to qualify for disability benefits according to the grid rules.

At age 50 an individual’s ability to adjust to other work has diminished according to social security regulations and therefore if a person cannot return to his past work it is less likely he can return to other work he has not performed before.   Accordingly, if you are over 50, and can no longer do the type of work that you performed during your adult life, then the social security rules and regulations may provide for a finding of disability. While the finding of disability will take into consideration other factors as well, most claims are granted where an individual cannot continue to perform the type of work they previously performed.

Just like how turning 50 helps you with your claim for disability so does turning 55 years of age.  If you are over 55, then the social security rules and regulations become even more favorable to the claimant.   As you can guess the closer you get to retirement age the more lenient the regulations become. Be aware, however, that your work history, education, and vocational training can all change how you are viewed by social security. But at least once you are 50 you are no longer held to a standard of those over 30 years your junior.

We have attempted to explain complicated regulations, definitions and legal standards in a simple way but unfortunately socials security disability law is confusing and can be difficult to navigate.  We are interested in helping you with your claim.   As social security disability lawyers we only get paid if we win your case. If you are 50 or older and want us to represent you please contact our office.



Richard B. Grabow