If you're under the age of 50 and filing for Social Security disability, the work you performed within the last 15 years prior to filing for benefits is not as critical for those who are older. But, if you are over the age of 50, then your last 15 years of work prior to filing for disability can be critical to your successful claim.
If you are over the age of 50, then you will be classified as a person closely approaching advanced age. If you are 55 or older, then you are considered an advanced age person by Social Security standards.
This status within the Social Security system can be very beneficial when filing for disability. Let me show you how this works:
1. If a person is closely approaching advanced age, then if he or she can only perform sedentary work and there are no transferable work skills, then a favorable decision usually follows.
2. If a person is advanced age, and he or she can only perform sedentary or light work, and there are no transferable work skills, then a favorable decision is likely as well.
Let me break this down further:
Sedentary work means a person can sit for 6 out of 8 hours per day, stand or walk for 2 hours, and carry up to 10 lbs. If a person can do light work, then he or she can stand or walk up to 6 hours per day, sit for 2, and can carry up to 20 lbs. occasionally and 10 lbs. frequently.
But, here's the catch:
If you do have transferable work skills from work you have performed within the last 15 years, then you are going to have to show that you are unable to even do sedentary work. This means that you are going to have to show that even though you do have these transferable work skills, you are unable to even sit at a job for 6 out of 8 hours per day, with normal breaks, five days a week, and you are unable to stand or walk for 2, or you are unable to even carry up to 10 lbs. Depending upon you impairment(s) this may be very hard to do. At the very least, you may have to go to a hearing and have a judge evaluate your case.
Why is this?
First, understand what transferable work skills are. They are, for example, communication, management, computer, organizational skills, etc. These are skills that transfer to other areas of work easily. Thus, if you can do Word at one job, then it is likely you have those same skills to perform at some other type of work.
Now, the reason.
If you have transferable work skills, then this makes you more employable. The Social Security Administration understands that as we age, it is less likely we will be hired by another employer. But, if you have skills that transcend other industries then you have a much better chance of being hired. These are intangible skills every employer looks for. Thus, if you are filing for Social Security disability and you have these transferable work skills, then you can use them to do sedentary or light work even if you are over the age of 50.
So, here's the moral to the story. If you have worked your whole life (or at least the last fifteen years) doing unskilled labor, then you will be better off than the person who has done skilled labor, recent college graduate, etc. I always tell people, for the one time in your life, you would have been better off to have an 8th grade education and done heavy phycial construction labor your whole life and be 55 years-old when filing for Social Security disability. You would have increased your chances significantly.
We help claimants throughout Texas and California fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. if you need help, please always feel free to contact us at: (888) 780-9125.