50-why getting old can help you get Social Security benefits
When you turn 50, Social Security treats you differently. This is discussed in another article, but we wanted to focus on the importance of age in making a Social Security Disability claim. This is one of the few times in your life where getting older works to your benefit. In general, Social Security recognizes that as one ages, two things happen. One is the human body is not as strong as it used to be and begins to break down in different ways. Secondly, it is more difficult to learn new skills. Social Security will take both of these factors into account when determining if you are disabled.
For each additional year that you age over 50, this becomes more and more true. As you turn 55, the rules change again and it becomes easier to prove disability. When you turn 60, the rules change yet again and it is even easier to prove you are disabled.
These rule changes are primarily for physical disabilities. Mental disabilities are not taken into account in these specific rule changes. Social Security does take into account mental disabilities at all ages. They take into account all disabilities when determining if one is disabled. However, the focus at age 50 in easing the rules, is a focus on physical limitations only.
As discussed in another article, the rules generally work like this. Social Security first determines the kind of work you have done for the 15 years prior to becoming disabled. If your past employment required you to lift 20 pounds or more occasionally and/or stand or walk at least six hours a day, they ask a second question. What are you currently capable of now? If they determine you are limited to a job where you cannot lift more than 10 pounds and/or cannot stand or walk more than six hours per day, they will usually determine you are disabled. The reasons are somewhat complex, but, in essence, they believe that you do not have the skills to work in a capacity in a sitdown job that is similar any jobs which you did in the past 15 years. In other words, if you used to be able to do work that required lifting more than 20 pounds and/or prolonged standing and walking, and you can no longer do that kind of work, Social Securtiy will typically assume that you are unable to work at all.
Again, this is one of the few times in your life where getting older helps you.