Will My Age Be a Factor in Determining My Social Security Disability Claim?

A. Yes.  In our society, youth and appearance are often highly valued. However, when it comes to Social Security Disability claims, being younger can be a disadvantage. The Social Security Administration considers various factors, including age, residual functional capacity, education, skills, and work experience, to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. They assess not only your ability to perform your previous work but also your capacity to adjust to less demanding work, even if it means earning significantly lower wages.

The Social Security Administration has established age categories and vocational guidelines to assess disability. Individuals between the ages of 44 and 49 receive only slight consideration, as there is a presumption that those under 50 can undergo vocational retraining and adapt to other work. However, the burden of proving disability starts to decrease at age 50. This policy recognizes that claimants over 50 face greater challenges in relocating, returning to school, changing careers, and learning new job skills compared to younger claimants with similar impairments. Therefore, anyone under 50 should seek the assistance of an experienced and competent Social Security Disability attorney to advocate on their behalf.

For individuals aged 50 to 54, the Social Security Administration considers that age, along with severe impairments and limited work experience, would significantly affect their ability to adjust and retrain for different types of work. Those aged 55 or older are presumed to face even greater challenges in making adjustments to other work. If you are 60 or older, these presumptions are even stronger. Another crucial factor in proving disability at different ages is the physical exertion and skill levels required for past jobs. As a general rule, the older you are, the lower the burden of proof you must meet to establish disability under Social Security guidelines.