Is Age a Factor in the Social Security Disability Process?

Age can be a factor when it comes to deciding the outcome of your Social Security Disability case. Social Security has to consider age, because that is what the Social Security Act requires. As people get older, they become less adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems. A severe back injury which might cause a 25 year old to switch to a job in which he or she can sit down most of the time, whereas a 60 year old person who could not make the adjustment to a different type of work.

The Social Security disability regulations provide that the Commissioner will not apply the age categories mechanically in a "borderline situation." 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(a). The Commissioner considers a borderline situation to exist "when there would be a shift in results caused by the passage of a few days or months." Social Security Ruling 82-46c. The Social Security disability court decisions appear to refuse to permit the mechanical application of the age rules where the disability claimant is less than a few months shy of the next age category.

If you are close to a critical age, such as 50, 55 or 60, examine if the Medical-Vocational Guidelines dictate a finding of disability once you reach the next age category. If so, have your attorney argue at the hearing that the ALJ should consider you disabled six months prior to this key birthday.

In the processing of adult disability cases, age can provide some benefit. However, even though this is the case, it should be pointed out that it is not necessarily harder for younger individuals to be approved for disability. An individual at age 25 may just as easily be awarded disability benefits as an individual at age 50, provided that the 25 year-old has a condition that will last at least one full year and is severe enough to preclude the ability to work. An approval or denial of benefits will be based on whether or not the durational disability requirement has been met (a state of disability must exist for at least one year), and whether or not the individual can work, either at one of their former jobs (past work), or at some form of other work.

If you have questions about your social security disability case, contact an experienced Michigan Social Security Disability law firm. The attorneys at Allan W. Ben P.C. can answer all your Social Security Disability questions and help you get your case approved.