SSD: Rules after 60
You’ve probably heard that it can be difficult to get Social Security disability benefits (SSD). Most SSD applications are denied in the first round, and it can take two years or more to get through the appeals process and secure benefits. What many people don’t know is that the chances of approval increase as you age. That’s especially true once you turn 60.
There are two ways to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The first is to demonstrate that you meet or equal one of the medical conditions listed in the Social Security Blue Book. Simply having a listed condition isn’t sufficient to qualify for SSD. You must meet specific criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets forth to ensure that your condition is truly disabling. The specific criteria are different depending on the condition.
If you don’t meet or equal a listed condition, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if the SSA determines that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. That begins with a look at your past relevant work. If the SSA determines that you can still do work you have done in the past, you will not be considered disabled. If you can’t do the work you did before, the next step is for the SSA to consider whether you can do other work. This is where being aged 60 or older helps.
At this point, the determination hinges on “grid rules.” The grid looks at a combination of the applicant’s age, educational level, and past work experience to determine disability. Those aged 60 and older are classified as “advanced age” and are considered disabled in some circumstances where a younger worker would not be. For example, an applicant in their 60s with a high school education and skilled or semi-skilled work history that is not directly transferable to a new job would be considered disabled. But, an applicant under the age of 50 with the same combination of education and experience would not.
Is It Worth Applying for Social Security Disability in Your 60s?
If you are 60 or older, you may question whether it is worthwhile to apply for SSD when you are so close to being able to take early retirement benefits. The answer is yes. When you take early retirement benefits, the amount of your monthly benefit is reduced forever. However, if you qualify for SSD, you will receive your full retirement benefit amount. When you reach full retirement age, your benefits will switch to retirement benefits, but you will still receive the full monthly benefit.
Talk to a Disability Benefits Advocate Today
While the SSA makes it a little easier for older workers to qualify for SSD, success still depends on the quality of your application. Give yourself the best chance at approval by working with an experienced SSD benefits advocate from the start.
To learn more about how we can help, call (800) 800-2009 right now or contact us here now.