If a disability prevents you from working on a full-time basis, it is crucial that you are able to secure the maximum amount of financial support through all available programs. A Social Security disability claim is one of your primary options. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that nearly 10 million people nationwide receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.
You may be wondering: Will my age be a factor in my SSD claim? The answer is a clear “yes”—while never the sole determining factor, it is generally easier for older workers to qualify for disability benefits. In this article, our Tucson Social Security disability lawyer explains the most important things you should know about age as a factor in your SSDI or SSI claim.
Yes—Age is a Significant Factor in Many Social Security Disability Claims
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize the fact that age plays a crucial role in Social Security Disability claims. Indeed, the SSA evaluates the disability claims of applicants based on a combination of factors, including:
- Work history; and
- Medical condition.
Older workers are often more prone to physical and mental health issues, making it more likely for them to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Even more importantly, the SSA openly acknowledges that older workers may face additional challenges in finding and maintaining suitable employment due to age-related limitations, which increase their eligibility for disability benefits.
Why it is Easier for Older Workers (50+) to Qualify for SSDI or SSI Benefits for a Disability
Older workers have a higher likelihood of qualifying for SSDI or SSI benefits due to several reasons. To start, as individuals age, they are more susceptible to chronic health issues and conditions that may limit their ability to work. Secondly, the SSA recognizes that older workers may experience more difficulty in adjusting to new work environments, acquiring new skills, or adapting to changes in their physical or mental abilities. Indeed, SSA uses a set of age-based medical-vocational guidelines known as “grid rules” to help determine eligibility for benefits. These grid rules are more lenient for applicants aged 50 and above.
The Bottom Line: Once a person reaches age 50, it becomes easier for them to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. The SSA is less likely to require them to re-train (adjust) to a new career.
Younger Workers Can Absolutely Qualify for Social Security Disability
Although older workers have a higher likelihood of qualifying for disability benefits, younger workers can also qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. To be eligible for disability benefits, younger workers must demonstrate the following:
- They have a severe medical impairment that prevents them from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (SGA);
- Their condition is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
For an SSDI claim, younger workers in Arizona also need to have accumulated sufficient work credits, depending on their age, to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Those without a long enough work history may qualify for SSI benefits.
Legal Tip: While age may be a factor in an SSD claim, the primary focus of the SSA’s evaluation process is the severity of the medical condition and its impact on the applicant’s ability to work.
You Need a Well Supported SSD Application that Meets Medical and Technical Requirements
Regardless of age, it is crucial for all applicants to submit a well-supported SSD application that meets both medical and technical requirements. To increase the chances of a successful claim, applicants should provide comprehensive medical documentation detailing the severity and duration of their impairments, including physician’s reports, test results, and treatment records.
Applicants must ensure that they meet the technical requirements for SSDI or SSI benefits, such as work credit requirements for SSDI or income and resource limits for SSI. Involving a knowledgeable legal representative or disability advocate can be beneficial in navigating the complex application process and gathering all necessary documentation to support the claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Social Security Disability Attorney in Arizona
At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, our Tucson Social Security disability attorneys are passionate, experienced advocates for clients. If you or your loved one has any questions about your case, we are more than ready to help. Call us (877) 370-5788 or contact us online to set up your no cost, no obligation consultation. From our Tucson law office, we handle workers’ compensation claims in Pima County and throughout the surrounding communities across Arizona.