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How Does Age Factor Into Your SSDI Claim?

As far as government organizations go, the Social Security Administration is one that we can all agree as being one of the most necessary and vital operations to the welfare of the nation. As the population gets older, it can no longer operate and perform the job duties that are required, and thus many are forced into retirement. Social Security, however, does not only cover those who are passed retirement age; anyone with a disability can file a claim for Social Security.

To expedite the process (which is still somewhat arduous), the Administration has come up with certain demographics and requirement ranges that applicants must fit into. When it comes to your capacity of workload, they have come up with a ranking system, called Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). The rankings go from sedentary (lifting no more than 10 pounds occasionally) to heavy workload (regularly lifting more than 50 pounds). Based on your work history or the limitations imposed upon you by your disability, the Administration will rank you in one of the four categories: Sedentary, Light Work, Medium Work, and Heavy Work.

When it comes time to assess whether or not an applicant is eligible for benefits, age can definitely play a factor in determining a claim’s validity. The Administration classifies workers not only by RFC, but by age ranges as well: 18-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60-65. Depending on where you are on that scale, it can determine whether or not you receive benefits. For example, if you are below 55 and have an RFC of light work with little education, you may be denied benefits. However, if you are over 55 with the same characteristics, then you can be approved. The reason for this discrepancy is how the Administration classifies each age. The closer you get to retirement age (65), the less likely you are to be denied benefits, mostly because you are closer to receiving benefits after retirement anyway, and because the Administration believes the elderly as having a low RFC. The other major defining factor is that they feel that the older you are, the less likely you can endure vocational training for a different career path.

This is not to say that anyone younger than 55 will be denied benefits, it just means that you need to have further evidence to support your claim than someone who is older. If you have any questions, contact a local Social Security Lawyer in Atlantic City, and they can walk you through the steps needed to file, as well as appeal a claim should it be denied initially.

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