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Is Age a Factor in the Social Security Disability Claims Process?

Social Security Disability AttorneyIn certain circumstances, an applicant’s age could play a role in determining whether or not they are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. As explained by the Social Security Administration (SSA), applicants are only eligible for disability benefits if they are unable to return to their previous job and they are also not likely to find suitable replacement employment.

This is the primary reason why age is an important factor in the Social Security disability claims process — younger workers are more likely to find suitable alternative employment. Here, our top-rated Chicagoland Social Security disability attorneys provide a more in-depth explanation how age can affect the SSDI claims process.

Residual Functional Capacity: Understanding the Basics

In applying for Social Security disability benefits, workers must typically submit a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. Essentially, this form is used to describe an applicant’s physical and mental limitations. If you are seeking SSDI benefits, it is imperative you submit a comprehensive RFC form, which clearly outlines your limitations. Notably, claims reviewers will assess an applicant’s RFC in context of their age. The older a disability applicant is, the more challenging it will be for them to switch careers. Specifically, the Social Security Administration recognizes four basic age categories:

  • Younger Workers: 49 years old and younger
  • Approaching Advanced Age: 50 to 54 years old
  • Advanced Age: 55 to 59 years old
  • Approaching Retirement Age: 60 years old and older

By itself, age is certainly not enough to get an SSDI claim approved or denied. The core purpose of the age grid is to serve as a proxy characteristic, which can help assess how well an applicant is suited for vocational adjustment or worker retraining.

Older Applicants May Have an Easier Time Getting Approved

The bottom line is that in some cases, it is easy for older applicants to get approved for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, when an applicant is 55 years old or older, the SSA will only consider alternative positions to be suitable if little to no vocational adjustment is required. For younger workers, claims adjusters are far more likely to determine that retraining is appropriate. Of course, this is not to say you should be dissuaded from applying if you are in your twenties, thirties, or forties. If you have enough employment history and you have a disabling condition, you can receive SSDI benefits—regardless of your age.

Discuss Your Case with Our Chicagoland Social Security Disability Lawyer Today

At Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd., our top-rated Illinois Social Security disability attorneys are strong, experienced advocate for disabled individuals and their family members. We will help you obtain the full and fair SSDI benefits that you deserve. To set up a free, no commitment case evaluation, please contact our law firm right away. With an office in Lisle, we serve communities throughout the greater Chicago metro area and Northern Illinois region.