Every Tuesday, Social Security Attorney Taylor Potts will expose some of the more frequent myths surrounding Social Security Benefits. Be sure to “like” our Facebook page and stop back each week as Attorney Potts takes you through The Twilight Zone – Social Security Style. If you have questions about Social Security Disability or VA Disability benefits, contact Attorney Taylor Potts at (304) 845-9750.
Myth #2: The Magic Number 50
You are about to enter a land beyond what many of us know. A land that could almost be considered a different dimension. A dimension of medical records, vocational classifications, administrative law judges, and functional limitations. Strap yourself in and get ready as we enter the twilight zone of Social Security Disability benefits.
WARNING! PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Social Security Disability can be a strange and confusing land, but allow me to be your guide as we (hopefully) shed some of this mystery and bring it back into the realm of reality. In this series, we will take some of the most common (12 to be exact) misunderstandings, or myths, about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income and help explain why these myths are not necessarily true and why the myths became so pervasive.
DOES AGE PLAY A FACTOR?
Our second myth will explore the question of how much age plays a factor in determining if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Most people believe it is impossible for younger individuals to get Social Security Disability benefits, or that you can only get Social Security Disability benefits once you are a certain age (be that 50, 55, or older).
This is simply not true.
Individuals can be found disabled from the time they are born to the day that they die. What is true, to a certain degree, is that Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income both become easier to obtain as you age due to the Social Security Administration’s use of grid criteria.
WHAT AGE QUALIFIES YOU FOR BENEFITS?
As mentioned, Social Security Disability benefits of one type or another are available to disabled individuals from the time they are born to the sad day when the individual passes away. Whether you are eligible for disability benefits, or if disability benefits are the right choice for you, really just depends on your unique situation.
For instance, individuals between the ages of one (1) day to eighteen (18) years old may be eligible for Children’s Supplemental Security Income benefits. Once an individual falls outside of the Childhood Disability benefits stage, they would likely fall into one of the traditional Social Security Disability benefits we generally think of (Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Survivors/Widows Benefits, etc.).
What happens once you reach retirement age?
Traditionally, individuals who qualify to take full Social Security Retirement benefits may find this option to provide more benefits to them. However, assuming you meet the disability criteria, you could remain on Social Security Disability benefits even after reaching retirement age. Thus, it’s possible that an individual can be considered disabled and eligible for some form of disability benefits from childhood to the day they pass away.
ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO QUALIFY AS YOU AGE?
As we have determined, you can be considered disabled and qualify for Social Security Disability benefits at any age. So why does it seem so pervasive that only older individuals are granted Social Security Disability benefits? Well, there may be two reasons for this trend.
The first is simply, as we age our bodies naturally tend to break down. We are prone to getting arthritis, back problems, joint degeneration, etc. All of these things are considered by Social Security when determining if an individual is disabled. So to an extent, as we age, these inevitable degenerative changes provide an individual with additional problems to be considered by the Social Security Administration.
Medical-Vocational Guidelines (grids)
More important to this trend is the Social Security Administration’s use of medical-vocational guidelines or “grids.” Under these grids, certain types of work are excluded as you get older.
For example, an individual who is between 50 and 54 years of age is not expected to return to work at a sedentary level of exertion if they do not have a history of working in that field or transferable skills to the jobs in question. Thus, an individual who is 51 years old, has only ever worked as a roofer or construction worker, and has been determined to only have the physical ability to work at the sedentary level (a job that requires mostly sitting), would be determined disabled under the Social Security grids.
These work exclusions advance with the individual’s age. At 55 to 59 years of age, the work exclusion expands to include light levels of work in most circumstances. The age-related benefits top off after age 60 when most exclusions are possible. These exclusions help explain why it seems like individuals must at least be 50 years old in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
HAVE YOU BEEN DENIED? WE CAN HELP
Regardless of age, if you have been denied for Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, contact us immediately at (304) 845-9750.
You only have 60 days to appeal your denial. I know it’s difficult, but the important thing to remember is that a denial is not necessarily the end of the line for your disability benefits claim. It also does not mean your disability benefits claim is not a good one. What it does mean is that you may need assistance in pursuing your disability benefits claim. Social Security may not be reviewing your claim appropriately or, if you are above the age of 50, they may not be applying your exclusions properly. In either situation, Gold, Khourey & Turak can help.
At Gold, Khourey & Turak, it is our business to assist you with all of these things and more. We know the Social Security system, and we have the experience and knowledge to ensure that the Social Security Administration reviews your claim properly. If you have been denied for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, DO NOT WAIT, let us help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to. Our consultations are free, and there is never a fee until we obtain benefits for you.