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Tag: GRIDS for SSDI

What Are the Social Security Disability GRIDS?

What Are the Social Security Disability GRIDS? Generally, Social Security defines disability as having the inability to work.  Social Security considers your ability to go back to your past work.  They also look at your ability to do other types of work.  However, Social Security understands it may be harder for older individuals to learn new work.  Therefore, Social Security has more favorable rules for people over age 50.

What are the GRIDS?

Social Security uses a medical-vocational chart known as the GRIDS when evaluating disability claims.  The GRIDS consider different factors including your age, education and work background.  They also consider your residual functional capacity or RFC.  Social Security looks at the GRIDS chart to see if you qualify for disability even if you can do other types of work.

Social Security Disability GRIDS and your past work

When you apply for disability, you must provide your work history.  Social Security asks you to explain the type of jobs you had going back 15 years.  They ask you how long you did each job.  They also ask how much you earned at your past jobs.  Only work done in the past 15 years that resulted in significant earnings is considered relevant for your disability claim.  The GRIDS won’t apply if Social Security thinks you can do any past work.

Social Security Disability GRIDS and your RFC

Social Security defines your RFC as what you can do despite your limitations.  An RFC includes both mental and physical limitations.  Social Security reviews your medical records to figure out your RFC.  Therefore, it is extremely important that tell Social Security about all of your doctors.  You should see your doctors regularly.  Your doctors can help you case by completing an RFC form.  They should include both physical and mental limitations caused by your medical conditions.  They should also include any side effects from medications or pain levels.  Your disability advocate can provide these forms for your doctor. 

Social Security Disability GRIDS:  categories of work

The GRIDS divide work into several different physical categories.  The more physical your past work, the more likely the GRIDS will help you win your case.  These categories include:

  • Sedentary – sitting jobs that don’t require lifting more than 10 pounds
  • Light – usually require more standing and walking and don’t require lifting more than 20 pounds
  • Medium – requires lifting between 25-50 pounds
  • Heavy – requires lifting more than 50 pounds

Social Security Disability GRIDS:  transferable skills

In addition to physical limitations, Social Security also considers skills required to do your past work.  They must figure out if you can use skills from your past work to do other types of jobs with little or no new training.  Social Security considers these types of skills “transferable skills”.  If your past work has transferable skills, it may be harder to apply the GRIDS.  Any problems you have with memory, attention or concentration can help eliminate transferable skills. If Social Security finds that you can only perform simple or routine tasks, transferable skills don’t apply.  Usually, to prove this limitation, you need mental health treatment. 

Example 1:  applying the GRIDS over 50

In one case, a 53 year old man applied for disability benefits after he broke his ankle.  He required surgery and had pins and screws in his foot, developed arthritis in the ankle and ongoing pain.  He required a cane, previously worked as a line cook and dishwasher.  Social Security found that he could no longer perform his past work as a line cook or dishwasher.  They also found he could only do sedentary jobs.  Since his past work had no transferable skills, the GRIDS applied.  Social Security approved his disability claim. 

Example 2:  applying the GRIDS over 50

In another case, a 50 year old woman applied for disability benefits because she had lumbar disc disease, osteoarthritis in her knees and depression.  She previously worked as a medical receptionist and office clerk.  Social Security found despite her impairments, she could still perform sedentary work.  However, they also found she could only perform simple and routine tasks due to her depression.  Since her job required more complex tasks, she was not able to return to her past work.  Therefore, the GRIDS allowed Social Security to approve her claim.

Example 3:  applying the GRIDS over 55

For example, a 58 year old man applied for disability after he had a heart attack.  He needed heart surgery and had several stents placed.  His doctor told him he could no longer lift more than 10 pounds due to the stents.  Despite surgery, he also continued to have chest pain and shortness of breath.  He previously worked as a dump truck driver.  Social Security found that he could not perform his past work.  However, they felt he could do light work.  Since he was 58 years old and could no longer perform his past work, the GRIDS applied.  He was awarded disability benefits. 

Example 4:  applying the GRIDS over 55

In another example, a 60 year old woman filed for disability due to diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, asthma and anxiety.  She previously worked as an auditor and housekeeper.  Social Security found that she could not return to her past work as an auditor because she could only perform simple tasks.  They found she could not return to her past work as a housekeeper because she could not stand or walk for long periods.  They applied the GRIDS and found her disabled. 

Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your SSDI and VA disability claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

What Are the GRIDS for SSDI?

What Are the GRIDS for SSDI? Social Security has special disability rules for people over the age 50.  Social Security uses a chart called the Medical-Vocational guidelines to evaluate your claim known as the “grid rules”.  The grid rules make it easier for older people to win their case.

SSDI GRIDS factors

Social Security understands that it may be harder for people over 50 to do new or different work.  First, Social Security considers whether your conditions meet specific requirements under their medical listings.  Often, these conditions can be very difficult to meet.  Next, Social Security considers the GRIDS.  The grid rules consider several factors.  These include:

  • Your age, education or work history
  • Skills from your past work
  • Your residual functional capacity (RFC)

SSDI GRIDS and your age

Generally, Social Security divides people into four age groups.  Typically, if you are 50 or older, Social Security can use the GRIDS to approve your case even if you can do other work.  The rules can be even more favorable for people over 55.  These age groups include:

  • Younger individuals:  ages 18-49
  • Closely approaching advanced age:  ages 50-54
  • Advanced age:  ages 55-59
  • Closely approaching retirement age:  ages 60 and older

SSDI GRIDS and your education

Social Security considers your education level.  Generally, the less education you have, the harder it would be to find other types of jobs.  Social Security used to consider a person’s ability to communicate in English.  However, a recent rule change removed this factor.  Education categories include:

  • Illiteracy – inability to read or write in any language
  • Marginal – completed 6th grade or less in any country
  • Limited – completed 7th through 11th grade in any country
  • High school education and above in any country

SSDI GRIDS and you work history

Social Security must categorize your past work before applying the GRIDS.  The GRIDS only apply if you can’t perform any of your past work.  Social Security only considers past relevant work.  This includes work performed in the last 15 years.  It must have resulted in significant earnings.  Temporary or part-time jobs might not count as past relevant work.  Providing accurate information about your past work can be very important to your SSDI case. 

SSDI GRIDS and physical levels of work

Social Security divides types of work by their physical requirements.  For people 50 or older, the more physical your past work was, the easier it is for Social Security to apply the GRIDS.  The physical categories of work include:

  • Sedentary – sitting jobs that don’t require lifting more than 10 pounds
  • Light – usually require more standing and walking and don’t require lifting more than 20 pounds
  • Medium – requires lifting between 25-50 pounds
  • Heavy – requires lifting more than 50 pounds

SSDI GRIDS and job skills

Social Security looks at any skills required to perform your past work.  Sometimes, skills from your past work can be used to do different types of jobs.  Generally, these skills can be used in other jobs with little or no additional training.  Social Security refers to these skills as “transferable skills”.  If Social Security finds that you have transferable skills to other work, the GRIDS may be harder to apply. 

SSDI GRIDS and getting around transferable skills

However, there can be ways around transferable skills.  Typically, this can be done if you have a mental health impairment.  Mental health impairments include conditions such as depression or anxiety.  However, they can also include side effects from medications or the impact pain has on mental functioning.  When a person has medical evidence documenting mental health impairment, Social Security must evaluate their ability to perform the mental demands of work.  Usually, Social Security concludes a person can only perform simple, routine tasks when there is evidence of mental health impairment.  This limitation eliminates transferable skills. 

SSDI GRIDS and your RFC

Social Security defines residual functional capacity (RFC) as what you can do despite your limitations.  An RFC includes both physical and mental limitations.  Social Security determines your RFC based on your medical records.  They can also consider opinions from your treating doctors.  Social Security cannot determine your RFC from a diagnosis alone.  Therefore, you must see your doctors regularly.  You should see specialists if you can. 

Applying SSDI GRIDS

Once Social Security figures out your RFC and your work history, they will look at the GRIDS.  Social Security has separate GRIDS for sedentary, light and medium work.  For people over 50, the more physically limited you are and the more physically demanding your past work was, the more likely the GRIDS show you should be found disabled. 

Example 1:  SSDI GRIDS over 50

For example, Janet, a 52 year old woman previously worked as an office manager.  Janet completed high school.  She filed for SSDI because she was having worsening anxiety and osteoarthritis in her knees.  Janet has difficulty standing and walking for long periods.  Her doctors prescribed her a cane.  Despite medication and therapy, Janet has difficulty managing her anxiety symptoms.  Social Security found that Janet could not perform her past work.  They also found that she could not do any other light jobs.  She also was limited to simple and routine tasks.  Therefore, the GRIDS applied and Janet was approved for disability. 

Example 2:  SSDI GRIDS over 55

In another example, Jose filed for SSDI after injuring his back.  He is 57 years old and has a high school education.  Jose worked for many years as a dishwasher.  Since his injury, he has difficulty sitting and standing for long periods.  He can’t lift or carry more than 10 pounds.  Social Security found that he could do light work.  His job as a dishwasher doesn’t have any transferable skills.  Therefore, the GRIDS allowed social Security to approve Jose’s case. 

Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your SSDI and VA disability claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.