Each year more than 2.5 million disability applications are filed with the Social Security Administration. Of these applications, only 30 percent are approved at the initial stage of the application process. The remaining 70 percent must appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits or give up hope of receiving benefits.
Many people wonder why applications are approved or denied and whether or not age plays any part in the SSA's decision as to whether or not they will award benefits. If you have considered applying for disability and wonder how your age will affect your disability claim, the following information will help you understand what role your age plays in your ability to qualify for disability benefits.
Age and Social Security Disability
Age is not always a determining factor when it comes to disability applications, but many times it does play a part in the SSA's decision on whether or not to award disability benefits. This is due to the medical and vocational guidelines that are set forth by the SSA.
When the Social Security office reviews a disability application, certain medical and vocational guidelines must be followed when deciding whether or not to approve a claim. There are guidelines set forth that pertain to one's age, but that does not mean your age will automatically disqualify you from receiving disability benefits.
When the SSA reviews your disability application, they must determine whether or not you are able to participate in gainful employment. Even if you have suffered a disability that prevents you from performing your usual job functions, your age may play a part in determining whether or not you can perform other types of work.
Let's say, for example, that you have no experience other than construction work. If you suffer a back injury and are unable to perform your usual line of work you may want to apply for disability benefits. Even if your condition falls under Social Security's Impairment Listings, this does not mean you will automatically qualify for benefits. Your age may also play a part in the decision.
Using the above example, if you are over the age of 50 your chances of being approved for disability benefits would be much greater than if you were in your twenties or thirties. This is because it would be much harder for you to enter into a new line of work. If you are younger, the SSA would expect you to obtain the necessary work skills to perform other types of employment. On the other hand, if your disability prevents you from performing any type of work whatsoever, you would likely be approved for disability benefits regardless of your age.
Determining the Role Your Age will Play
If you are applying for disability benefits, it can be helpful to understand how the SSA views the different age groups and work categories. If you are younger than 44 years of age, the SSA will view you as a young individual. Those who are between the ages of 44 to 49 are considered younger individuals and those between the ages of 49 to 55 are considered to be advancing in age. If you are over the age of 55 when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will consider you advanced in age.
Along with determining your age, the SSA will also determine what types of work you can perform. There are four categories into which Social Security groups functional capacities including sedentary work, light work, medium work and heavy-weight work. No matter how young you are, if you are unable to perform even the sedentary level of work due to your disability, you will likely be approved for disability benefits.
What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If you apply for Social Security Disability and your claim is denied, it is in your best interest to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration within 60 days of receiving the decision notice. If you feel that your age has played a part in your denied Social Security Disability application and that the Social Security Administration did not fairly take into consideration your inability to perform any type of work whatsoever, you should retain the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. Your attorney can increase your chances of a successful Social Security Disability claim and will ensure that all aspects of your disability are taken into account during the Social Security Disability appeal process.