Age is a key consideration in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) evaluation process because it can affect your ability to retrain for new employment and your overall employability.
Basically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that as you grow older, it may become increasingly difficult for you to transition into different lines of work due to your growing limitations. People are twice as likely to obtain SSDI when they’re 50 instead of 40, for example, and twice as likely again to be approved for benefits at 60 instead of 50.
Consequently, the age at which you apply for SSDI can influence the evaluation of your disability and your ability to adapt to other work.
How does SSA look at different age groups?
SSA classifies individuals into different age categories, each of which carries specific implications for the SSDI claims process:
- Younger Persons (Under 50): Generally, SSA expects people in this category to have a higher likelihood of being able to retrain for new employment. As a result, the criteria for establishing disability are often more stringent. Your ability to perform your previous work, as well as any transferable skills, will be closely examined.
- Those Closely Approaching Advanced Age (50-54): SSA recognizes that retraining becomes more challenging when you’re over 50, even if you aren’t of “advanced age.” There is still an expectation that you may be able to adjust to different work environments, but SSA will take your age into account, especially if you have limited transferable skills and a severe impairment.
- Those of Advanced Age (55 and older): SSA acknowledges that your ability to transition to a new line of work is significantly limited if you’re in this category. Proving that you are disabled may be much easier thanks to special rules that apply.
If you’re no longer able to work due to a disability, don’t let the SSDI application process intimidate you. Legal guidance is available