Is my age an Important Factor in Determining if I am Awarded Social Security Disability?

I am often asked if the age of a Social Security Disability applicant is important in the evaluation of his/her claim by the Social Security Administration.

The answer is “Yes, this is an important factor.” The reason is that the older you are, the better your chances of being approved for disability.

In order to be found disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must review your medical impairments and compare them to a list of conditions, called “Listings” by SSA.  If there is a specific regulation that applies to your medical condition, SSA must first decide if you meet all of the requirements of that section of the Regulations.  For example, if you have severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, SSA evaluators are required to read your medical records to see if you fulfill the requirements of the Regulations for Lung Disease.  If necessary, SSA will send you for an evaluation with a doctor at no charge to you to check your condition.  The problem is that  the “Listings” are very strict and severe.  Therefore, you could have very poor breathing, but not meet the Pulmonary Listings.

If you do not meet the Listings for your medical condition, SSA is next required to review your disability considering a number of factors, including:  the severity of your medical/psychological conditions;  your age; your educational background; and your prior work.

The SSA regulations recognize that, as you get older, it will be more difficult to work or transfer to other jobs.  Therefore, there are different rules that apply at ages 50, 55 and 60.  As you reach these higher age levels, the requirements to win your Social Security disability claim will be easier.

How these factors affect your claim will be based on the specifics of your circumstances.  However, these rules are very confusing and you should consult with an attorney who handles Social Security Disability claims for more information.  You can call or email me and I will be happy to evaluate your claim.  There is no charge for this initial consultation.