How Your Level of Education Impacts Your Social Security Disability Case

August 21, 2018

If you are under the age of 50, then your level of education plays little into determining whether your meet SSA's requirements for being disabled.

 

However, for those over the age of 50, this could mean as much as being approved or disapproved. 

 

Once a person reaches 50 years-old, there are rules called the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. For people over the age of 50, they are placed in the following categories: (1) Your age: 50-54, 55 and above; (2) Whether a person has obtained transferable work skills from prior employment - a person will either have obtained skills he or she can transfer to some other type of work or he or she has not; (3) The amount of physical exertion one can do over a typical 8 hour work day -i.e., how long a person can sit, stand, walk, lift and carry; and (4) how far one has gone in school and whether such an education would provide for direct entry into skilled work.

 

Transferable work-skills are for another day. Let's just look at education:

 

If a claimant is over 50, but less than 55, he or she is considered "closely approaching advanced age." For those over the age of 55, they are considered "advanced age." These two categories of workers are all that would be considered, because anyone under the age of 50, would have to show he or she is illiterate to be considered to fall into a Medical-Vocational rule.

 

First, if a person over 50 can only do sedentary work (sit for 6 hours per day, stand or walk for 2 hrs., and carry up to 10 lbs.) then he or she has a chance of being approved. For a person over the age of 55, if he or she can do sedentary and even light work (stand or walk for 6 hours, sit for 2, and carry up to 20 lbs.) then that person can be approved as well. Again, if there are no transferable work skills, then the last piece of the puzzle is his or her education. 

 

For those with less than a high school education and capable of working at the sedentary (and light for those over the age of 55) level, then approval for disability benefits is likely to happen. For those who graduated from high school when they were 18 years-old, then this of course would not provide for direct entry into skilled work, so approval would likely occur. But, for those who went back to school later in life or obtained an advanced degree at some point, then this may provide for entry into skilled work and may also be the reason why he or she would not be approved. 

 

Honestly, this is probably the one time in anyone's life where the less education you have, the better off you are. 

 

You may be asking yourself why such things are taken into consideration? -Because, in order to be found disabled, there is more at stake than just a physical or mental limitation. The assumption is that there is at least some kind of work any person can perform. One must overcome this assumption in order to be found disabled. Oftentimes, this is too difficult and that is why a person is denied many times before approval. It may be that he or she is just finally fitting into one of these rules which allowed for an approval, even though his or her physical or mental condition never changed.

 

We help claimant throughout Texas and Oklahoma fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. Always feel free to contact us at: (888) 780-9125. 

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