SSA Grid Rules and Your SSDI Claim

In the case of Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI), older age often means a higher likelihood of getting awarded benefits. One major reason why this is the case is because the Social Security Administration uses what’s referred to as SSA grid rules to determine eligibility. These grids take into account the following factors:

  • Your age
  • Your educational background
  • The skill level required for your previous jobs
  • Your transferrable job skills
  • Your residual functional capacity

Overall, these grids point to an underlying notion that older workers will likely have a more difficult time entering new jobs. It is important to understand the different factors when considering whether to file a claim for SSDI benefits.

Age of the Applicant

When processing an SSDI application, the SSA grid rules are used to see which of the following age groups the applicant falls into:

  • Younger individuals (ages 18-49)
  • Individuals approaching advanced age (ages 50-54)
  • Advanced age individuals (ages 55 and over)
  • Individuals approaching full retirement age (ages 60 and over)

Generally, the older you are, the more likely you are to be awarded SSDI.

Your Educational Background

Similar to age, the SSA divides applicants into different tiers based on educational background as well:

  • Individuals who are illiterate and/or unable to communicate with others in English
  • Individuals who have a limited education and did not graduate from high school
  • High school graduate or above, without recent skilled work or training
  • High school graduate or above, plus recent skilled work or training

Following similar logic as age, the SSA generally is more likely to award SSDI to those who have a lower education because the SSA reasons these individuals are less likely to be able to find jobs they are qualified to do.

Work History

The SSA will look at your prior employment and classify it as unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled.  These classifications are made after looking at factors including how long it will take an individual to learn a job and whether a job requires certain skills. If an applicant only has had unskilled employment, they are more likely to receive SSDI.

Transferable Skills

In the case of applicants who have had semi-skilled or skilled employment, the SSA will consider any skills you learned at your previous employment and see whether they are transferable to other positions. For example, if you are a billing manager at a law firm and are in charge of maintaining Quickbooks and other accounting tasks for the firm, you likely could transfer those skills to work in another office environment that is not a law firm. Generally, if you have more transferable skills, you will be less likely to receive SSDI.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

An applicant’s RFC is defined as their ability to work full time on a regular and sustained basis. To determine your RFC, the SSA will consider medical documentation submitted by a medical professional that outlines your ability to do general job-related activities, including standing, walking, and carrying.  RFCs are given for the following categories:

  • Sedentary work
  • Light work
  • Medium work
  • Heavy work
  • Very heavy work

Generally, if you are found to be able to work in “heavy” or “very heavy” work, you are less likely to be awarded SSDI.

Contact an Experienced SSDI Lawyer Today

The experienced Mount Pleasant SSDI attorneys at Klok Law Firm, LLC can help guide you through the above factors and get a better picture of whether you are likely to receive SSDI if you go through the application process.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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