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Vocational factors for people over 50: how are they assessed?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Social Security Disability Benefits

Californians who apply for Social Security Disability benefits must go through the five-step sequential evaluation process. It can seem like it lasts forever and people will be concerned that they will fail to meet the qualifications and be denied.

It is important to understand the fundamental aspects of a claim and this process based on the applicant’s situation. For those who are categorized as “older,” it differs from those who are “younger.” This can be vital to the case when their work and ability to work is assessed.

What should I know about age and my ability to work when seeking SSD benefits?

Determining whether an applicant can work hinges on several elements, including their residual functional capacity, education and work they have done in the past. When the Social Security Administration references age, it means chronological age.

That is weighed with the other vocational categories. While the applicant’s ability to adapt to new types of work is considered, it is not based solely on their age. Still, as people get older, it could inhibit their ability to adjust to different work. Those who are not working but are considered capable to adapt to new work may be denied benefits.

When considering the impairment and whether the person can do other types of work, they are placed into three categories: younger person (under 50), a person who is closely approaching advanced age (50 to 54) and a person of advanced age (at least 55).

Typically, younger people are not seen as being of an age that will negatively affect adjusting to other work. In some situations, if they are 45 to 49, it could affect them negatively compared with people under 45.

Those approaching advanced age could be found to have a problem getting suitable work based on the severity of their impairment and a lack of work experience for available jobs. Those who are of advanced age may be significantly challenged in adjusting to new work. There are separate rules for those who are nearing retirement at age 60 and above.

Professional help can be the difference between an approval and a denial

When applying for Social Security Disability or appealing a denied claim, the impairment is a major consideration in the case. If a person is 50 or older, has a diminished RFC and their age prevents them from adjusting to other work, this could be helpful in getting approved.

Knowing how the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes its decisions can be confusing. It is crucial to provide all of the necessary information and understand the impairment, prognosis, past work and age as factors. When seeking benefits, it is essential to have experienced assistance for every step of the claim.