As we get older, our bodies become less reliable and resilient. Unfortunately, this can mean that diseases or conditions that didn’t concern us much when we were younger are now much more serious issues to be considered.
For many, it isn’t until after the age of 50 that they really start to feel the effects. This is a natural part of the body aging and so it should come as no surprise that the Social Security Administration is aware of this fact and has even implemented some rules to better support those over 50.
What Factors Influence SSD for Those Over 50?
There are four important factors that must be considered for those over 50 who are applying for Social Security benefits. While these factors play a role in decisions for those who are under 50, they are weighted differently for those older. This is due largely to the fact that it is harder for those over 50 to change or develop these factors when compared to younger individuals.
The four important factors include:
● Residual Functional Capacity: This is the test used to determine what limitations a person has physically due to injury or illness. It measures walking, lifting, standing, and other general physical movements that are required by many workplaces. The results are broken down into four categories, with the weakest being for those who are unable to lift more than ten pounds. The less a person over 50 is capable of, the better their chances at approval.
● Education: The less education a person has, the harder it is to find appropriate work. Younger folk are encouraged to seek further education, but it is understandably harder for those over 50. Those with less education have an easier time seeking benefits because there are less options for them.
● Work Experience: The type of work plays an important role but performance is also going to be considered. Less experience means it is harder to seek out additional work, and a bad last performance can point toward worsening health.
● Transferable Skills: The skills you have from working may be transferable to a field with less physical demand. Those who lack skills or whose skills aren’t transferable to another field have improved chances at being approved for benefits.
What Special Provisions Are There for Those Over 50?
Between the ages of 50 and 54, there are not really any special rules or considerations that are different from those of younger individuals. However, things are quite different for those aged 55 to 60 and those who are older than 60.
● 55-60: At this age, those factors above start to really matter. Seeking less demanding work will still be the primary suggestion and those who are able to do so may find it the better option. The SSA is also likely to have you meet with a vocational expert to determine your capabilities, should your medical history not be enough to sway them.
● 60 and Older: At this point the rules soften a little. More flexibility is offered by the system. Those who are still capable of reduced work may find it the better option until they retire, at which point retirement benefits could be higher than applying at a younger age.
How Can I Be Sure I’ll Get Approved?
While there is no surefire way to know ahead of time that you will be approved, there are ways that you can increase your chances. For one, you could work with a disability attorney that understands what type of evidence the SSA wants and who can help you provide it. This is a complicated and frustrating system that leaves many people scratching their heads and just giving up on the whole thing.
Don’t let yourself be one of them. Work with an experienced disability attorney that can answer your questions and support you throughout the process.