The assistance of an experienced disability attorney can help all applicants navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. The following are some examples of cases where individuals aged 55-59 were approved and disapproved for disability benefits based on the grid rules.

  • A 59-year-old woman applied for disability benefits based upon diabetes. She had a high school education but hadn’t worked for 28 years. The SSA determined that the claimant had the RFC to perform only sedentary work. The grid rules, therefore, directed a finding of disabled.
  • TIP: Because she had not paid into the system for 28 years, this case is just an SSI case. Make sure she meets the income and asset limitations before spending your time on this case.  If not, you may work for free.  ALWAYS ask several times about assets.  I have had people who failed to disclose extra cars or real estate somewhere out of county…. It was innocent, they just did not think it counted. It all counts.  If you originate an SSI app for a client, make them sign it.  You want to be sure if an asset is omitted, it is not on you.
  • A 58-year-old man applied for disability benefits because of emphysema. He had a 10th-grade education and had worked his whole life as a parking collector. The SSA found that he had the RFC to do light work, but no transferable skills. The grid rules directed a finding of disabled.

TIP: asthma creates a non-exertional limitation.  Asthmatics require a clean air workplace.  Sitting in parking booth by running cars is not clean air. Here, this asthma problem precluded the past work.  Then we consider the age of 58 and RFC for light work and the GRID pays this man.

  • A 55-year-old man filed for disability based on arthritis in both knees. He had a college education, and his past work was as an office manager. The SSA determined he had the RFC to perform sedentary work. The SSA also determined that the claimant had transferable skills, including management and communication skills. Therefore, with the application of these other factors, the grid rules directed a finding of not disabled.

TIP: this is a very tough case.  The education and job skills are a nail in the coffin.  You have to neutralize them first to have any real hope of winning on the GRID. If that fails, get off the GRID.  DO the knees swell (most do after replacement prosthesis)?  Does he have to elevate them? If so, we are now off the GRID and the SSA has to get an expert to assess the job market for a man who periodically elevates his legs during the day.

  • A 58-year-old man filed for disability based on hepatitis C. The claimant had a high school education and some college. The SSA determined that the claimant had the RFC to perform medium work. Because of his education level, the claimant was found to be not disabled under the grid rules.

TIP: Hepatitis will commonly preclude work in the food service and giving of personal health care.  Technically, this is enough to preclude the GRID, but you will probably still lose this case.  If you cannot find more to go on, do not work this case.  Many Hepatitis drugs are brutal.  Sometimes the side effects alone as disabling, so check that out. Was there any long term liver damage?

Even if the grid rules direct the denial of benefits, you may still win your claim by proving that you have limitations which actually prevent you from doing the kind of work the SSA says you have the ability to do. If the SSA denied benefits because you had a sedentary RFC, a college education, and transferable job skills, you could still appeal and prove that functional limitations associated with the use of your hands and fingers don’t allow you to effectively work in any sit-down type of job. Thus, even if the grid rules direct that you have transferable skills, but your functional limitations prevent you from using these skills, you may still be able to override the grid rules’ determination and win your case.

One of the best ways to make sure you understand all of the rules and regulations associated with applying for disability benefits is to retain the services of an experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so there is absolutely nothing to lose! Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online today!Case Studies: Workers Age 55-59