Finding work can be difficult for Texas residents who are nearing retirement age, and this is especially true if they suffer from a serious medical condition or have a disability. This is why the Social Security Administration has put rules into place that make it easier for older Americans to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. When applicants over the age of 55 are no longer able to perform their work duties, they are not required to prove that they lack the skills they would need to find alternative employment. Instead, the SSA uses a medical-vocational grid to evaluate their claims.
The medical-vocational grid
This medical-vocational grid is used to determine what kind of work duties the applicant is still capable of performing. This is referred to as the applicant’s residual functional capacity. The levels of RFC range from sedentary work to very heavy work. The grid provides SSA claims evaluators with rules for applicants of different ages, and the rules become progressively more less rigid as applicant ages increase.
The grid rules are also flexible because they allow Social Security Disability claims evaluators to consider the applicant’s education, skill level and the transferability of their skills as well as their age. This means that an applicant over the age of 55 with limited education and skills has a good chance of being approved for benefits even if their condition is not defined as a disability in the SSA’s Blue Book. Older applicants with limited education and work experience may also be approved for SSDI benefits even if they are still capable of performing medium-level work.
Workers over the age of 55 are considered elderly by the SSA, which is why more flexible rules have been developed to make it easier for them to qualify for disability benefits. These rules were put into place because the job market is not kind to older workers, and they take factors other than the applicant’s medical situation into account. If you are over the age of 55 and are no longer able to perform your work duties, you could qualify for SSDI benefits even if your condition would not normally be considered a disability by the SSA.