Why is it easier for people over age 50 to get Social Security disability?
It is easier for you to get disability when you are over 50 years old due to something called the GRID Regulations.
Disability claimants under age 50 must be able to show that their disabilities prevent them from earning a gainful living in any occupation. These occupations include jobs that allow you to sit when you want, stand when you want, and never lift over 5-10 lbs. While you may have a tough time imagining that such jobs exist, Social Security will have a vocational expert at your hearing who will testify that they do. And, remember, the issue is not whether there are job openings, the issue for Social Security is whether such jobs exist within the national economy. You will want a skilled disability lawyer with you to cross-examine this vocational expert so that you can prove your case.
Just because it is difficult to prove your disabilities when you are younger does not mean that you should give up. In fact, many younger people are able to be found disabled especially when they have mental health limitations associated with physical ones. Commonly, younger people, who are capable of standing or sitting, can still be considered disabled when they have limitations using their hands; when they have bad days where they have to lie down; when they need to elevate their feet due to swelling; if they are off task or unproductive due to issues with concentration; if they have bad days with pain or mental health symptoms to the point that they would regularly miss work; or, if they require too many unscheduled breaks to calm down, rest, or use the bathroom throughout the course of a work-day.
Unlike younger disability claimants, claimants over age 50 have an easier time proving disability because the law largely focuses on whether they could return to any of the gainful jobs that they held within the last 15 years as opposed to requiring proof that they cannot return to any occupation – as is the case for younger claimants. If you are out of work and over age 50 and believe that your health (mental and physical) prevents you from returning to any of the full-time jobs that you held in the last 15 years, you should probably apply for disability.
We are here to help you. Please give us a call or complete our contact us form if you would like advice about applying for disability, or if you are seeking help from a Social Security disability lawyer in appealing a Social Security denial. We offer free phone consultations, and our Social Security disability lawyers only charge if we win your case.