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Why Is It Easier For 50+ to Get SSDI?

June 30, 2022 Social Security Disability

You may be on this website because you’ve heard that it’s incredibly difficult to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). That is unfortunately true. However, there is a magical day that makes getting SSDI or SSI somewhat easier: your 50th birthday. Actually, it’s really one day before your 50th birthday because, well, Social Security rules don’t always make a whole lot of sense. Anyway, a day of difference doesn’t really matter when just getting the Social Security Administration (SSA) to decide your SSDI/SSI application takes 8-12 months or more. 

Why Does Someone’s 50th Birthday Matter So Much?

Older workers have serious challenges adjusting to certain jobs after they do a different kind of job for their entire lives. It can be nearly impossible to even get an interview for a sedentary job after 50. SSA classifies people between age 50 and 54 as, “individuals closely approaching advanced age.” The administration accounts for that with what they call “grid rules,” in which you are disabled if your medical condition limits you to sedentary work as long as you are 50+ and don’t have work experience, skills, or education that would theoretically allow you to adjust to work at the sedentary level. These “grid rules” simply don’t apply for individuals in their 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s.

Sedentary work involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools. Although a sedentary job is defined as one which involves sitting, a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met.

How Do I Prove That My Medical Condition Limits Me to Sedentary Work? 

Treatment! Treatment! Treatment! Go to a specialist to try to get better. Unless you are a parapalegic or something similar that cannot be corrected barring a medical miracle, SSA wants to see that you are going to a specialist to try to get back to work. Such specialists include, but are not limited to:

  • Orthopedic Specialists – for conditions like Spinal Stenosis, Arthritis of the Knees, Hips or Back, etc.
  • Podiatrists – Foot conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, conditions that require bunionectomies, Arthritic changes in the metatarsals, foot deformities like overpronation (flat feet), etc.
  • Pain Management Specialists – Chronic Pain Syndrome, Back Pain, Foot Pain, Knee Pain, etc.
  • Rheumatologists – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.

The conditions listed above are not the only conditions that make it hard to stand and/or walk during a standard workday. These are just some of the common conditions that our clients suffer from but there are many more. SSA looks for certain kinds of treatment from certain kinds of specialists when they decide if you are disabled, so make sure you consult a lawyer that specializes in SSDI if you are in doubt. 

Should I Wait for My 50th Birthday to Apply for SSDI?

Don’t wait if you’re disabled and can’t work. Sometimes even if you’re working part time you can still apply for SSDI. We win plenty of cases for clients that are under age 50! If there is a question don’t hesitate to call a Washington DC or Baltimore Social Security Disability Attorney like Jason Nguyen or Emmett Irwin.