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Will the worn-out worker rule help you qualify for SSDI?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Social Security Disability |

If there is one thing the average person knows about qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it is that it is a difficult process. Most people have heard horror stories about those with debilitating conditions denied benefits and facing an arduous appeals process.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a hard-won reputation for making the application and appeals process quite complex. However, you should not let that deter you from applying. If you have a medical condition that will prevent you from working, you may potentially qualify for SSDI benefits.

In fact, if you have a lengthy history doing a physically-demanding job and minimal education, you could qualify for benefits even if you could do a job as a cashier at a restaurant or a greeter at the grocery store. The SSA has a policy known as the “worn-out worker” rule that helps protect those who have done demanding work for much of their lives.

What is the worn-out worker rule?

Most applicants who want SSDI benefits have to provide medical documentation showing that their condition is so severe that they cannot work any job for at least 12 months, if not the rest of their lives. If you only have a marginal education and have worked doing arduous physical labor for at least 35 years, you can potentially qualify for SSDI benefits despite being able to perform low-skill job tasks in another or the same industry.

Provided that you have spent at least three-and-a-half decades doing a physical job and your education does not make you eligible for less-demanding but decently paid work, you can qualify for SSDI benefits with a medical condition that would not qualify a white-collar worker for benefits. Of course, you can expect that your application will also be subject to more scrutiny than the average SSDI applicant would face.

Documentation is key in any SSDI application

Your chances of approval increase when you have adequate documentation showing why you need benefits. The more medical and employment records you have showing that you qualify for SSDI benefits under the worn-out worker rule, the better your chances of getting those benefits and getting them quickly.

Learning more about the rules that govern SSDI benefits claims can help you cover your basic expenses when a medical condition forces you to leave your job.