Skip to Content
Logo  Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P.
News & Resources

Search Our FAQ's

How Can SSA Grid Rules Affect Your SSDI Claim?

If you’re applying for SSDI and are over 50, your medical condition isn’t the only factor that matters. The SSA has other guidelines to determine disability status, such as grid rules. Depending on your case, the SSA’s grid system can benefit you or make it more challenging to get approved. Regardless of your case’s details, it’s crucial for anyone applying for SSDI benefits to understand how they work.

How Do SSA Grid Rules Work?

Also referred to as the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, grid rules help the SSA determine if an applicant of a particular age group cannot work. They can also apply if your condition doesn’t meet a specific impairment. Besides your medical diagnosis, these guidelines use a combination of factors like education level, physical capability, and work experience to determine your eligibility for benefits.

How Are Grid Rules Applied?

There are a few specific categories the SSA’s grid rules use to determine disability status: 

Your Age

According to the SSA grid guidelines, applicants fit into four major groups:

  • Younger Individuals (18-49)
  • Individuals approaching advanced age (50-54)
  • Individuals of advanced age (55-59)
  • Closely approaching retirement age (60 and older)

Since the SSA believes that younger workers are more likely to find employment, the grid system prioritizes applicants over 50. From the SSA’s perspective, the older you are, the more difficult it is to get hired and learn relevant job skills. As a result, these guidelines give you a higher chance of getting approved for benefits.

Educational Attainment

The SSA also divides education levels into four primary levels:

  • Illiterate
  • Marginal education
  • Limited education
  • High school and above

The lower your education level is, the more challenging it is to find a stable job, especially when you combine other factors like age. As a result, an applicant with a limited education has a higher chance of qualifying for benefits through the grid system.

Work Experience And Skills

When the SSA reviews your claim, they’ll also look at the last 15 years of relevant work experience divided into skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled categories. Your previous jobs must exceed the minimum income threshold of $1,470 to be considered part of your work history. Your experience and job skills are essential in your application since the SSA must determine your likelihood of finding future employment.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) determines the maximum work you can do in a regular work setting. Once the SSA assesses your capabilities, you’ll receive an exertional level ranging from sedentary to very heavy work. Most applicants who qualify for disability benefits receive a sedentary, light, or medium RFC.

Our Lawyers Will Help You With Your Claim

Understanding the SSA’s grid rules can be complicated, but these guidelines have been crucial in helping older applicants qualify for benefits. If you’re applying for benefits and unsure where you fall within the grid, hiring an experienced social security disability attorney can help you review your claim’s details and determine your eligibility. Please contact us online or call us at 855-813-3344 to schedule a free consultation today.

Top 100 Lawyers
Best Law Firms