This blog is for anyone above the age of 50.
As you age, it becomes somewhat easier to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. The reason for this, is that the Social Security Administration realizes that there are far fewer jobs within the national economy a person is capable of performing as well as fewer jobs being available to those over the age of 50.
If you're younger than 50 years-old, there is a presumption that a person can perform a wide range of unskilled work at the sedentary level. For this reason, the burden is on the claimant at the hearing level to overcome this presumption. Oftentimes, as seen by the high number of denials, this burden can be very difficult to overcome.
Now, for those over the age of 50, the burden of overcoming this presumption of being able to perform sedentary unskilled work is lessened. It does not mean you will automatically be approved, but your age actually begins to help.
If you are between 50 and 54 years-old, and you can only do sedentary work (sit for 6 hours per day, stand or walk for 2 hrs. and carry up to 10 lbs.), then your chances of approval are increased. However, you must not have any transferable work-skills. If you have transferable work skills, then you have to prove that you cannot even perform sedentary work.
For those 55 years-old and older, if there is a lack of transferable skills and the ability to perform sedentary or even light work, then your chances are further increased.
So now, how does the Administration determine if you have these transferable work-skills?
First, there is a look-back period at past work for 15 years. If you did semi-skilled or skilled work, then there is a good chance you developed skills that can be transferred to some other kind of work. For example, if you have computer skills, management skills, organization skills, etc. These are the kinds of skills employers look for to help you adjust to some other kind of work, perhaps in a completely different field than the past work you did within the last 15 years.
If you have never worked skilled or even semi-skilled work within the last fifteen years, then you are likely classified as unskilled. An unskilled laborer over the age of 50 is unable to transfer work-skills because there are no learned or acquired sills to do so.
Second, the Administration looks at the level of ability at each job you performed. If you performed work that required abstract thinking, the solving of detailed or complex problems, or even if the job required a mastering of the English language or required a higher level of math skills, these are the kinds of jobs that also create transferable work-skills.
This is why it is so important to at least consult with an experienced disability attorney. Even though you may feel as though you are unable to do any kind of work you have completed in the past, that is only half the story. A determination of past work over the last fifteen years is important to understand if you can rely on only being able to complete sedentary or light work, or if there is a need to overcome the presumption that you are unable to even work at the sedentary level.
We help claimants throughout Texas and Oklahoma fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. If you need to speak with us, please feel free to call (888) 780-9125.