Are you turning 55 or 56 this year? The Social Security Administration (SSA) factors for age when reviewing disability applications. As you consider applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), think about timing too. The SSA is more likely to approve older applicants of “advanced age” or those “closely approaching retirement.” From the Fonz to John Hughes movies, this generation of 50-somethings is united by cultural touchpoints from their youth.
SSDI Approvals for People of “Advanced Age”
People of all ages may suffer from a range of disabilities. And many people can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. But, the SSA is more likely to approve an older applicant than a younger applicant, even if they present with the same symptoms and impediments.
More specifically, the SSA classifies applicants based on age. Applicants aged 18 to 49 are deemed “younger individuals.” For this age group, the SSA feels they are better equipped to adapt and pivot to different lines of work. As the person gets older, this becomes less feasible. Qualification standards become more lenient for these older adults:
- People “closely approaching advanced age” are 50 to 54 years old.
- People of “advanced age” are 55 to 59 years old.
- People “closely approaching retirement” are 60 to 64 years old.
If you can return to past relevant work, the SSA will not approve your application. After the age of 50, though, if you are physically able to do easier work but don’t know how, the SSA may still find you disabled. They will approve your SSDI application. They may not approve someone in their 30s or 40s with the same severity of symptoms. This is based on the SSA’s medical–vocational grid.
Cultural Touchpoints for Adults in Their Mid-50s
People who are turning 55 years old in 2023 were born in 1967. People turning 56 this year were born in 1968. This cohort of people now in their mid-50s may share common memories about the pop culture of their younger days. Notably, they may feel nostalgic about cultural touchpoints from childhood and teen years.
Popular Childhood TV Shows
When children of this era rushed home from school, they may have headed straight for the television in the family room. Through the 1970s and into the early 1980s, popular TV shows they may have enjoyed include:
- All in the Family (1971-1979)
- The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)
- Charlie's Angels (1976-1981)
- The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985)
- Eight Is Enough (1977-1981)
- The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982)
- The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
- Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)
- M*A*S*H (1972-1983)
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1978)
Top Movies From Their Teenage Years
If you’re turning 55 or 56 this year, the mid-1980s were a formative time. As teenagers, people born in the late 1960s may have enjoyed such movies as the following:
- Back to the Future (1985)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- The Goonies (1985)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Spaceballs (1987)
- Stand By Me (1986)
- Weird Science (1985)
Songs Played at Their Prom
With pretty dresses and the finest tuxedos, high schoolers of this generation may have heard some of these popular songs played at their prom.
- "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey (1981)
- "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (1982)
- “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake (1982)
- "Every Breath You Take" by The Police (1983)
- “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler (1983)
- “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie (1983)
- “Jump” by Van Halen (1984)
- "Like a Virgin" by Madonna (1984)
- “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper (1984)
- “Take On Me” by A-ha (1985)
Social Security Disability Eligibility Requirements
You must meet a Blue Book listing to qualify for disability benefits. Or, your residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment must deem you unable to work. The SSA considers advanced age to be a limiting factor. The medical-vocational grid rules for people of advanced age or approaching retirement are more lenient. They also look at education and relevant work experience.
Applicants must be unable to work for at least a year because of their disability. They must have also earned enough work credits to qualify. Benefit payments can continue until you can work again or you retire.
How to Improve Your Chances for Approval
One of the best ways to improve your chances for approval is to turn to a skilled SSD lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Keefe Disability Law are intimately familiar with the SSDI application process. The procedure can be lengthy and complex. Especially if you do not meet a specific listing in the Blue Book, the guidance of a knowledgeable disability lawyer is priceless.
We can walk you through SSDI requirements and gather documentation to support your claim. Our compassionate team will promptly stay on top of deadlines and file the necessary paperwork. Before you consider retiring early, weigh the possibility of SSDI to maximize your benefit payments. These are the days.