This is the second part of a multi-part blog on applying for Social Security benefits over the age of 50. Once individuals reach the age of fifty (50), obtaining approval for Social Security disability benefits becomes a little bit easier. Starting at age 50, and then again at ages 55 and 60, Social Security reduces the requirements for proving disability. By lowering the bar for disability, it becomes easier to be approved. In sum:
- After age 50, you may receive approval to receive Social Security disability benefits even though you are able to do some type of work (at a sedentary exertion);
- The older you are, the more physically demanding the work may be to qualify.
There are four categories of exertional capacity used by the Social Security Administration, generally defined by the amount a worker is required to lift, stand and walk:
- Sedentary – does not involve lifting more than ten pounds;
- Light – involves lifting of tens pounds or less frequently and occasional lifting of no more than twenty pounds;
- Medium – involves frequent lifting of twenty-five pounds and occasional lifting of fifty pounds; and
- Heavy – frequent lifting involved of more than fifty pounds.
Under the Social Security regulations, even if older workers are physically capable of performing at some functional capacity, they may not be required to adjust to a new type of work and may be eligible for Social Security Disability.
Age 50 to 54 – Obviously, this is the first time period which triggers the rules for workers fifty and over. If you are between 50 and 54, you may be approved for Social Security disability benefits even if you are still capable of performing sedentary work, as long as your past work was not skilled or semi-skilled, or if you do not have transferable skills to any other work.
If illiterate or unable to communicate in English, and you have no past relevant work or only unskilled work, you may be approved even if you are able to perform light work.
Age 55 to 59 – If you are between 55 and 59 years old, you may be approved for Social Security disability benefits even if you are able to perform light work.
However, if you have an 11th grade or lower education and no past relevant work, you may be eligible for benefits even if you are capable of performing medium work.
Age 60 to 64 – It gets weird here. Education matters here for some reason. So, if you are between 60 years old and 64 years old, you may be approved for disability benefits even though you are able to perform:
- If you have a high school degree or higher level of education, or
- if you have an 11th grade education, your past work was skilled or semiskilled but the skills are not transferable, or
- if you have a 7th to 11th-grade education and past work was unskilled.
- If you have an 11th-grade education or lower and no prior work experience, or
- if you have a sixth-grade education and your past work was unskilled.
These are general definitions and there are many special rules that pertain to the grid rules which consider level of education, work experience and other factors. It is important to consult with an experienced disability attorney to clarify all of these issues so that you may move forward and apply for benefits.
Do you have a potential disability claim? To improve your chances of meeting all of the requirements for the allowance of a claim (and avoiding the denial of benefits), retain the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.