People Age 50 to 54 Can Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Claim on the Computer ScreenFifty may be the new forty according to some magazines, but the Social Security Administration has a different definition of people around that age. According to the Social Security Administration, people age 50 to 54 are “closely approaching advanced age.”

Like anyone else, people between the ages of 50 and 54 qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they meet a listing in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments. However, even if they don’t satisfy a specific listing, they may still qualify for disability benefits in other ways.

Medical-Vocational Grids for People Age 50 to 54

If you can’t go back to the work you used to do and don’t meet a Blue Book listing, then the Social Security Administration will use medical-vocational grids to determine whether you can go back to work. These grids consider four factors:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Past work experience
  • The type of work being considered

Together, these factors determine a person’s residual functional capacity or ability to work.

Residual Functional Capacity for Sedentary Work

The Social Security Administration recognizes eight possible combinations of age, education, and past work experience for sedentary workers. Four of these combinations will result in a finding of disabled, and four will result in a finding of not disabled.

People age 50 to 54 are considered disabled if they have:

  • A limited education (did not graduate from high school or get a GED) and are unskilled
  • A limited education and they are skilled or semi-skilled, but their work skills are not transferable to sedentary work
  • At least a high school education that does not provide for direct entry into skilled work and they are unskilled
  • At least a high school education, but their work skills are not transferable to sedentary work

People age 50 to 54 are considered not disabled if they have:

  • A limited education and they are skilled or semi-skilled, and those skills transfer to sedentary work
  • At least a high school education that provides for direct entry into skilled work, even if they lack skilled work experience
  • At least a high school education that does not provide for direct entry into skilled work, but they have skills or semi-skills that are transferable to sedentary work
  • At least a high school education that provides for direct entry into skilled work, even if they lack skills that are transferable to sedentary work

Residual Functional Capacity for Light Work

The Social Security Administration recognizes seven possible combinations of education and work experience for people age 50-54 to return to light work.

Only one of these seven combinations results in a finding of disability. A person is considered disabled if they are illiterate and unskilled.

A person will be found not disabled if they have:

  • A limited or marginal education and they are unskilled
  • A limited or less than high school graduate education and they are skilled, but the skills are not transferable
  • A limited or less than high school graduate education and they are skilled with transferable skills
  • A high school degree or more education and they are unskilled
  • A high school degree or more education and they are skilled, but the skills are not transferable
  • A high school degree or more education and they skilled with transferable skills

Residual Functional Capacity for Medium, Heavy, and Very Heavy Work

For people age 50 to 54, all combinations of education and past work experience result in a finding of non-disabled for medium work.

Residual functional capacity for heavy and very heavy work is not decided by the medical-vocational grides.

Work With a Local Social Security Disability Lawyer to Get the Benefits You’ve Earned

You paid into the Social Security system for a long time. You deserve to get the Social Security disability benefits you’ve earned if you are between the ages of 50 and 54, and you can’t work because of your medical condition.

Our New England Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you get these benefits. If you live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island, we encourage you to contact us today for a free, no-obligation review of your disability claim.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer