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Age: Not Just a Number in Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration has a strict set of laws and regulations that determine how disability cases are decided and awarded. It is important to note that age will not disqualify someone from applying or receiving disability benefits. However, an individual’s age is factored into how the Social Security Administration views the case. There are four basic age categories that are considered by Social Security. First, there is the category of younger individuals. Younger individuals are individuals who are anywhere from 18 years old to 49 years old. Second, there is the category of individuals closely approaching advanced age. These individuals are anywhere from 50 years old to 54 years old. Third, there is the category of individuals of advanced age who are 55 to 59. Lastly, there are individuals approaching retirement age who range from 60 to 65 years old. As a young individual, age generally does not come into play but instead the individual must show they are unable to perform any full-time work in the national economy. However, once an individual is 50+ years old, the burden of proving disability shifts somewhat. These age groups used by the Social Security Administration are examined along with an individual’s past work, educational background, and residual functional capacity. For example, say an individual is 52 years old, has a high school education, and past work as a truck driver and machine operator. If this individual was found to be limited to “sedentary” work due to severe back pain issues then this individual wound likely be found disabled per the vocational grid rules. This finding would be contingent upon verifying the individual has no transferable skills to sedentary work. Overall, as an individual ages the burden for proving disability lessens a bit. However, due to the complexity of the vocational grid rules and the individual issues in each case, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney about your specific case and circumstances. An experienced attorney will help you understand more on how your age may affect your case in getting approved for benefits.

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