At age 50, many people have worked hard their entire adult life and paid into the disability system with their FICA wages. One purpose of the FICA system is to cover citizens who have a disability and can no longer work. Unfortunately, many of these workers are denied benefits when they apply for disability, despite a lifetime of paying into the Social Security system. What’s more, if one waits too long to apply after they are unable to work, they may no longer qualify because Social Security Disability FICA taxes are not a savings account but a federal disability insurance program. If you have not paid FICA taxes in the last 10 years you may find that you are no longer covered!!!
Understanding the over age 50 guidelines is important when filing claims for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In considering your claim, Social Security will consider the following factors:
Your Age. Social Security takes age into consideration, understanding that there are fewer jobs open to people as they age.
Level of Education: Your level of education may qualify you for some kinds of “desk jobs” that require little, if any, physical ability.
Your Work History: If you can no longer perform the jobs you have always held in the last 15 years and are over the age of 50, then you may qualify for benefits under the “over age 50 guidelines.”
Claimants age 50 to 54
The Social Security Administration has special rules for claimants over 50. If you are over 50 with a disabling condition and can no longer do the sort of work you have done in the past, then Social Security must take your age into account when considering whether or not you can do other work. As a Younger Individual, Social Security holds you to a stricter standard for disability. At this age, you will only be determined to be disabled if you are unable to perform any job in the national economy.
At age 55 it gets even better!
If you are over age 55, and if you cannot do your past work because of health problems you are a good candidate for disability benefits. Again, the Social Security Administration considers your age, education, past work and your ability to transfer your work skills to less demanding work. Frequently, Social Security uses Vocational Experts to testify at hearings about one’s ability to transfer work skills.
If you are age 60 or older the rules are even more favorable!
At age 60 and older, the disability rules are even more favorable. At this age, if you have a disability and are unable to work it is very beneficial for you to be approved for your Social Security disability benefits. If you are approved for your disability benefits, you will be able to draw your full Social Security retirement benefits at your full retirement instead of taking a reduced retirement benefits at age 62. This will significantly increase your retirement benefits over the remainder of your life expectancy. In other words, it will be financially very beneficial for you to draw Social Security disability benefits until your full retirement age, and then draw your full retirement benefit for the rest of your life.
Of course, proving disability at any age is complicated. In fact, although the regulations favor older individuals, it is still very important to hire an experienced disability representative who understands the vocational factors that become critical at these age categories. Kimberly Engler was a Certified Vocational Expert prior to representing disability claimants. This experience provided her with a background helpful in filing these claims, presenting the hearings and questioning the other Vocational Experts called to testify in hearings. Quite frankly, the vocational factors that apply in all disability matters often baffle even the most experienced advocate and this provides her with an important advantage.