It may surprise you to learn that your age is a big consideration when you file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
While SSDI is designed to provide financial assistance to disabled workers of any age, the older you are, the easier it is to get your claim approved. Here’s how age can factor into the decision process when it comes time to evaluate your application for benefits:
Medical-vocational evaluations take age into account
In general, the Social Security Administration (SSA) presumes that the younger you are, the more easily you can adapt to changes in your work environment or train for a whole new career – one where your disabilities won’t be a barrier to gainful employment.
Here’s how the agency generally breaks things down:
- If you’re under 50 years of age, you’re still considered “retrainable,” in theory. You can expect SSA to take a hard look not only at the work you’ve done in the past, but also your education, specialized training and any transferable skills you could take with you to another profession. Before your claim is approved, SSA has to be satisfied that there’s no real substantial gainful activity you can do.
- If you’re between 50 and 54, you’re considered “closely approaching advanced age.” This means that the criteria for an approved claim may be somewhat relaxed. SSA will consider any age-related limitations you may have and the limits of your work experience when deciding your claim.
- If you’re over 55, you’re considered “of advanced age.” There’s a presumption that you would find transitioning to a drastically different job very hard to manage, so there are special rules that are used to determine your claim.
Knowing more about how your age can ultimately factor into the decision can help you better understand the obstacles ahead. Legal guidance can show you how to overcome them.